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Pastel Artist Views Himself as a Visual Activist for Nature Creating Lush Landscapes in Rich Colors

Updated: Jul 17, 2023


Mike Barret Kolasinski's THREATENING REMARKS; dry pastel. His work locally was most recently seen in the ENVIRONMENTS exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL. Scroll down to see more landscapes by Mike...


When it comes to nature, Mike Barret Kolasinski is dedicated and proactive. His work is all about capturing the good energy that lies within nature along with inspiring his viewers to protect it, keep it pristine, and enjoy access to wilderness areas.


"Being in nature is healing," Mike explains. "There's such a thing as Forest Bathing -- an English translation of a Japanese term -- where people go off into nature to find healing for themselves."


Mike has always been drawn to the outdoors playing outside constantly as a child. Now, he's preserving nature for others to enjoy -- captured in his beautiful work and hoping others will connect with his art. After spending nearly two decades as a free-lance illustrator and designer, he decided to leave the commercial field and enter the world of fine art to pursue his real passion -- a visual commitment to illuminating and protecting the wilds of untamed nature.


His landscape paintings are of actual places. He works from small sketches of color studies and photographs for composition. Much of his imagery is based in the Midwest, but he also enjoys going to the National Parks when traveling. Because he is so drawn to water, his work always includes a water element -- streams, rivers, lakes or the sea. Because water is highly reflective it adds the rich elements of color, movement and texture to his finished pieces.


"I love to discover places others don't notice -- how sunlight dapples through the trees or reflects on a river," Mike observes. "There is no human element in my work -- -- no figures or buildings. Instead, it's all about the natural scene. I want viewers to see all the details that nature provides us."


Mike noted that he's never in a rush to finish a piece. He likes spending time and enjoying the process. He'll often let a work sit for a while and then comes back with fresh eyes to make adjustments or changes. He eschews prints -- all of his work is one-of-a-kind.


An award-winning artist, Mike has been highlighted in leading art publications such as AMERICAN ARTIST, and PASTEL JOURNAL, among others. He is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, has achieved Master Circle status with the International Association of Pastel Societies, and a Master and cofounding Board Member of the Chicago Pastel Painters. His work can be found in many public, private and permanent collections. He is represented at the J. Petter Gallery in Douglas, Michigan, and the Mainstreet Gallery in Lake Zurich, IL. He teaches at the Art Center Highland Park, IL and the Oak Park Art League.


For more information, visit: Mike Barret Kolasinski Fine Art


Mike with his award-winning dry pastel painting, HOT STREAKS, shown in the ENVIRONMENTS exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL


BLUE--LIKE SYMPTOMS; dry pastel


CHANGING CHANNELS; dry pastel


COASTAL SERVICE; dry pastel


BOULDER DASH; dry pastel





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