Michael Shepherd is the current artist in residence at Henderson House, Alexandra, and his move to the residency has resulted in a productive time for his work.
Michael was born in Hamilton in 1950, and graduated with a Diploma of Fine Arts (Honours) from Elam School of Fine Arts.
Through a QE2 grant, he was able to discover seventeenth century studies in Amsterdam, and Rembrandt Scholars still inform his work.
He was awarded an MNZM (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit) for services to the Arts in 2008.
His paintings are exhibited in Te Papa, the Auckland Art Gallery, and the Christchurch Art Gallery, as well as in many other public and private collections.
The artist says, “I never look at my own work – I duck and dive a bit around them.”
Michael taught at St Cuthberts College for 23 years, and has taught in universities and polytechnics throughout New Zealand.
In fact, he often destroys his work if it does not sell (though he has not exhibited for many years), or if he becomes dissatisfied with it.
Michael’s home is now in Te Puru, north of Thames, where he lives with his partner, Jillian Driver.
He grew up in a soldiering family, and the interest in history that he developed then has remained, in his passion for art, society, and history.
His love of archeology and nature is
evident in his paintings.
Michael has enjoyed his time at Henderson House, and has fired ahead in his new collection of paintings.
His exquisite work is of the European tradition of the old Masters, though it has a firm focus on local plants and layers of history.
The artists’ residency at Henderson House, famously designed by Ernst Plische, is subject to invitation from the Henderson Arts Trust.
Michael has appreciated the kindness of the Central Otago people, and is especially grateful to Fiona and Grahame Sydney, saying, “Lady Fiona is unfailingly kind.
She bustles into town with food parcels every couple of days and makes sure that everything is fine.”