<font color="#808080">MICHAELSEN, Ken</font>

More Ken Michaelsen:    Federal Duck Stamp Print 

1936 - )

Painting seems to be part and parcel of the Michaelsen family. Lawrence Michaelsen was a painting contractor in San Francisco and his wife, Florence, painted in her spare time as a "profitable hobby." Their son, Lawrence K. Michaelsen (better known as Ken) was born on October 1, 1936.

By the time Ken was eight years old, his artistic inclination began to surface. He and his father would entertain themselves by sitting at their kitchen table and drawing outlandish cartoons for each other. It was good, wholesome fun and it served as a vehicle to improve Ken's draftsmanship.

At age ten he began entering poster contests, several of which he won. He was disqualified from one contest when he was twelve because the judges assumed that his entry was that of a professional and, therefore, ineligible. It delighted his parents to see that his work was being taken that seriously.

Continuing in the vein of "starting young," he accepted his first commission, a wall mural for a child's bedroom in a neighboring house, when be was 14. He devoted two hours per day for three weeks to the work and on completion, he received his fee of $25.00.

After graduation from Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton, California, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. Unlike most military hitches in those days,, Ken held a job he enjoyed. He was assigned to the Air Force art department for his entire tour of duty. He also moonlighted in various art-oriented jobs.

After his military obligation was fulfilled, he took a job as technical illustrator with Lockheed Aircraft. During evenings and other "off hours," he attended the San Francisco Academy of Art and then Foothill College in Los Altos.

One day while Ken's partner was interviewing applicants for a staff artist, he happened to wander through the... reception room. Waiting to be interviewed was a very pretty young lady by the name of Judy Schmelzer. He suddenly decided to take over that portion of the interview for his partner. Apparently the interview went well; six months later they were married.

From 1967 to 1969 he held a number of jobs involving commercial art of some kind in an effort to find his niche in the art world. He even tried free-lancing for two years, but that proved equally unsatisfactory.

Finally, he decided to break all ties and follow a star which had been beckoning to him for a long time. He and Judy packed up the family and with all their belongings moved to a farm in Peace River, Alberta, Canada. His plans were to farm in the summer and paint in the winter. However, the land and Mother Nature were more cruel than he had anticipated. Three months later, they returned to California, financially broke and physically exhausted.

Again he entered the maddening world of commercial art, but the desire for freedom never left him. Then, in 1972, a hunter friend of his commissioned him to paint the first wildlife subject he attempted -a dall sheep. He thoroughly enjoyed doing the painting and when he finished, he knew that he had found his calling. He continued to paint wildlife subjects and after several other commissions, he once again decided to drop out of commercial art and paint wildlife subjects only. This time the break was permanent. He has done well and winning the Federal Duck Stamp Competition has paved the way to a secure future.

All members of the Michaelsen family lead very active lives. Ken spends many hours in marshes, fields, and woods photographing the subjects of his art work. He is an accomplished photographer and has a myriad of equipment. Other things which occupy his leisure time are tennis, canoeing hiking, fishing, and playing the guitar.

Russell Fink Gallery P. O. Box 250 Lorton, VA 22199
Voice: 703-550-9699 Fax: 703-339-6150