Mike Rooney is one of Eastern North Carolina’s top impressionist painters. His work can be seen in galleries throughout eastern North Carolina and Virginia, and can also be found in private collections as far away as Colorado and New York. Mike teaches several workshops a year, and has studied with renowned plein air painters John Silver and Rick McClure. He primarily works in acrylics, which are well-suited to his fast-paced lifestyle, painting mostly near the coast. Mike can recall an early interest in art, beginning with drawing and painting as a child — a passion that has continued all of his life. A native of Alexandria, VA, he studied art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, before joining the armed forces. The Air Force brought him to eastern North Carolina in 1977, and after three years and a tour in Korea, he opened a sign business in Goldsboro, NC. Though he made his living with a brush painting signs, his fine art interests took a backseat to building a business and raising a family. Mike rediscovered his passion for painting after seeing California style impressionism in one of his surfing magazines. He was instantly hooked. His previous style had been tight and realistic, but what he saw in the surf magazines left more to the viewers imagination. Details were left out, and it was loose and exciting to look at. So Mike picked up some oil colors, a canvas and a few books on plein air painting. In one of those books it said: “To become a proficient plein air painter you should try to block-in one hundred paintings in less than 3 months, even if they can’t be finished.” Mike did the hundred “starts” as they are called, and ever since then he just can’t seem to shake the habit, even now creating over 150 finished paintings in a year!
“I love to paint. I love to capture the essence of a three dimensional scene in two dimensions. It’s my passion.” – Mike Rooney