Announcing the release of my 2nd Limited Edition Print: ROWAN

23 Jul '10


Inspiration: Life & Death in Art

Death & the Maiden by Marianne Stokes

Marianne Stokes, Death and the Maiden

Something has spoken to me in the night, burning the tapers of the waning year;
something has spoken in the night, and told me I shall die. I know not where. Saying:

“To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing;
to lose the life you have for greater life;
to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving;
to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.
Whereon the pillars of this earth are founded,
toward which the conscience of the world is tending-
a wind is rising, and the rivers flow.”

-Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

Eidolon by Brad Kunkle

Brad Kunkle, Eidolon, 2009

Alfred Rethel, Death as a Friend

Alfred Rethel, Death as a Friend, engraved in 1851

Arnold Bocklin Self-Portrait with Death 1872

Arnold Bocklin, Self-Portrait with Death, 1872

Spring_Witold Pruszkowski_1887

Witold Pruszkowski, Spring, 1887

Sylvia Ji_Marigold_2008

Sylvia Ji, Marigold, 2008

Alison Scarpulla, She’s Stealing Your Soul, 2009

Alison Scarpulla, She’s Stealing Your Soul, 2009

The Harpy_Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch, The Harpy

Death & The Maiden_ Adolf Hering 1900

Adolf Hering, Death and the Maiden, 1900

Sascha Alexander Schneider, Feeling of Dependence, 1920

Sascha Alexander Schneider, Feeling of Dependence, 1920

Sidney Sime_The Ultimate God

Sidney Sime, The Ultimate God, from Time and the Gods, 1906

Evelyn De Morgan_Angel of Death

Evelyn De Morgan, Angel of Death, 1890

Face Lift_Laurie Lipton_2005

Laurie Lipton, Face Lift, 2005


Looking for more inspiration?

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19 May '10


Michael Shapcott’s Ultimate Art Recommendations

artistsmanual_web2FOR REFERENCE: The Artist’s Manual which is kind of like an art bible. I use it as an all-around reference guide that especially comes in handy when I forget how to do something. It is loaded with content and includes hundreds of explanations about techniques, composition, color, artist’s materials, and tools and every page is filled with photos and illustrations.

spectrum_fantastic_art_13_web2FOR INSPIRATION: Spectrum which is a thick art annual full of awesome art from a wide array of genres and artistic styles. I get one every year and it’s always a blast to flip through. I don’t know if my work is “fantastic” enough but I’d love to be in one of these volumes. Other great art annuals to be inspired by or even submit your own art to are Communications Arts and American Illustration.

ALoomis_CI_Spectrum_web2FOR INSTRUCTION: I can’t think of anything better than the books by Andrew Loomis. Loomis was a highly regarded commercial illustrator who was prominent in the 40’s and 50’s. Anyone interested in drawing people can benefit from studying him. His rare, out-of-print books books have been an enormous influence on illustrators and artists for many years and I’m no exception. Published between 1939-61, the books are illustrated with Loomis’ own pencil drawings and teach basic drawing and composition, scale, anatomy, drawing the figure without a model, shading, perspective, use of color, form, line, etc. The women in many of the pictures wear high heels and the styling is very mid-20th century (it is an old book) but it won’t matter – the instructions are timeless.

ALoomis_FigureDrawing_th-webThe demand for these great books has been high ever since they were written and they have seen many editions. Unfortunately, they are out of print except for some expensive used editions or newer chopped up versions printed by Walter Foster as Drawing: The Head and Drawing: Figures in Action.

But… the incredibly awesome news is that some scanned archives of the original books in their entirety are available on the web! To my knowledge, all of these books are in the public domain and therefore free to distribute for educational use. I wasn’t sure how permanent they would be on other servers so I downloaded pdf versions of all six books and have since put them on my server for others to download and learn from.

Figure Drawing for All It's Worth
Successful Drawing
Creative Illustration
Drawing the Head & Hands
Eye of the Painter
Fun with a Pencil

Each pdf is linked to its corresponding book cover image above. Depending on your browser settings for pdf’s, you can either click on each image above to view / download or just right click on each image, “Save Link As,” and save to a folder on your computer.

seeingourselves_borzello_web2FOR HISTORY / HERSTORY: Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraits which is an inspiring, factual, gorgeous book that delves deeply into how women artists from the 16th through 20th centuries chose to portray themselves. Despite the difficulties of being a female artist throughout the centuries, there is a rich history of self-portraiture by women who didn’t let the restrictions of ‘femininity’ stop them from making their own image. This book brings an awareness to great women painters and photographers and sheds light on an important part of history often and unfortunately missed in art history courses. There are an incredible number and variety of amazing self-portraits, each one trying to answer the difficult questions of self. This book is seriously a must-have.

DVD’s:   Some of my all-time favorites…

Simon Schama's Power of Art
The Private Life of a Masterpiece
Andy Goldsworthy Rivers & Tides
Salvador Dali (Artists of the 20th Century)
Frazetta: Painting with Fire
Sketches of Frank Gehry
Norman Rockwell Painting America
American Splendor

To get more info on each film, hover over each image with your mouse to view it’s DVD title or click on an image to view details/reviews/purchase on it’s amazon product page.


Juxtapoz Magazine with cover art by Mark Ryden
Hi-Fructose Magazine with cover art by Greg "Craola" Simkins
American Art Collector Magazine with cover art by Brad Kunkle

So those are my recommendations for art books, films, and magazines. I’m always on the look out for new (or at least new to me) and inspiring materials so if you have any suggestions, please comment and share!

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14 May '10

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The End is Near…

I recently completed two new pieces for an amazing group show presented by Lower Haters and curated by Curt Anderson. The show is entitled “The Beginning of the End” and it OPENS TONIGHT!! The exhibit will feature new artwork from myself and 8 artists from Urban Muse including Taren Meacham, Cuca Refugia, Pobresito, Give Up, Dec!mus, Nichole Camarillo, Burner, and Biafra Inc.

The opening reception is today (March 14th) from 7 to 11pm at Lower Haters Gallery, 597 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA and will feature a video projection element detailing process, music, and free beer. The show will run through June 9, 2010.

Lower Haters is also having a “The Beginning of the End” pre-sale online right now. So if you want to check out the art and maybe snag one of your favorites, take a look.

Lower Haters unwrapping Shapcott paintings Wednesday

Lower Haters unwrapping Shapcott paintings

Henry Lewis working on the mural for "The Beginning of the End"

Henry Lewis working on the mural

My process painting video for “The Girl and the Owl,” one of the pieces I have in the show:

Painting a Painting No. 6

(click HERE for best FULL-SCREEN view)

Juxtapoz Article:

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14 May '10

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Hello. I’ve missed you.

Welcome to the new and improved! There are a lot of awesome features to the new layout including the ability to comment on posts, easily share info you find here on your favorite sites, ask me anything on my formspring page, check out mail from awesome fans, see what music I’m listening to right now, watch the latest Painting a Painting videos, and subscribe to the site’s RSS feeds so you never miss a thing.

I’m hoping to use this blog like a personal journal, updating regularly with things like:

  • upcoming shows & events
  • new paintings
  • WIP photos
  • step-by-step painting images & videos
  • art / artists / music / food / etc. that inspire me
  • quotes and words of art wisdom
  • new techniques
  • contests to win some free Michael Shapcott art
  • and a lot more!

I would like to thank each and every one of you for all the support over the years. All the feedback and love I get honestly just blows my mind. You fill me with all sorts of inspiration IT’S CRAZY! I am sincerely thankful that you enjoy and support my work – you are the great ones who help make my dreams come true.

I’d also like to send out a humongous THANK YOU to my fiance Melissa for putting her awesomely beautiful blood, sweat, and tears into this amazing site. She is an incredible woman who makes every day a day worth living.

I’ll be posting more soon but in the meantime, please take a look around, let me know what you think about the site so far, and check back often or -better yet- subscribe to see what’s new.

Michael Shapcott

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