Artist Spotlight: Michael Shapcott

Hayley Stengem, Two Cents Editor

Color. Intensity. Emotion. Together they perfectly describe the works of Michael Shapcott, a lesser known Connecticut based artist. Shapcott specializes in portraits of young women who stare viewers straight in the eye with a chilling and wonderful beauty. His work primarily consists of detailed graphite drawings which he then thinly washes with oil and acrylic paints. With such beautiful pieces of art and less than seven thousand likes on Facebook, Shapcott is truly a diamond in the rough.

Techniques vary widely between artists, but usual are similar in some ways. Shapcott’s technique, however, is almost completely unheard of. Leaving the underdrawing of a painting to show through the transparent washes is unique to his work and is one of the reasons his works are so lovely.

“Painting has always been experimental or intuitive with me and so I never know what I’m doing when it comes time to add color,” Shapcott said on his blog. “I just do what feels right and that has resulted in a sort of “wash” technique where I apply a layer of paint that is sometimes thinned out with linseed oil and turpentine or water, then wiped away to achieve a watercolor look.”

This thinned oil paint and graphite technique has evolved over time, changing between his series Three Circles to his latest series, Onawa.  Onawa, a Native American word for awake, perfectly captures the essence of the seven pieces it entitles. Purposeful women, wrapped in the daring colors of his palette, stare meaningfully out of the canvas in true Shapcott style. As the title of the series suggests, he pulls inspiration from Native Americans.

“Native Americans have always held a special place for me and influence my art,” Shapcott said. “The truth is that anything can be inspiring really. It could be a person’s energy or a look or a place or even a story I hear. Most often it’s just fragments of the world waiting around to be captured and expressed in my own unique way.”

Lately though, inspiration has run dry for the artist, so Shapcott decided to take on quite a project. On his official website earlier this year, he put sketches on sale, 365 to be exact. Shapcott decided to take on the ambitious Drawing a Drawing 365 project in which he completes a sketch everyday to improve himself as an artist and pull him out of his inspirational rut.

“When I started Drawing a Drawing 365, I had no idea how fans would react to my lofty ambition to take on 365 portraits… [but] this has been absolute dream… I have a lot of work ahead of me and I can honestly say that I’ve never been so excited to create art in my life!”

In addition to this project, Shapcott plans on releasing a full-length tutorial video of his unique method to painting. In the past he has released time-lapse videos (comically named Painting a Painting), but never has he fully broken it down or been instructional. For the first time, his technique shall be revealed.

Up and coming, Michael Shapcott is an artist to watch out for, whether he is painting a painting or drawing a drawing, his style and voice are prevalent. Taking old inspirations and making them modern, his pieces are all truly one of a kind.

Visit Shapcott’s website or visit his Youtube Channel RedLung to for  a new artistic experience and source of inspiration.