Michael Irvine


Automotive artist Michael Irvine has chosen to focus his artistic talent on capturing classic American cars in watercolor. His unique approach to this traditionally 'loose' medium, and ardent eye for detail produces clean, sharp images that are alive with color and narration. Michael’s use of reflective surfaces and ‘hidden’ images along with his incredible attention to technical accuracy, make his paintings highly captivating.

Michael strives to create works that stimulate the imagination and entice the audience to explore further. He says, "I want to draw the viewer in ... give them more than just a picture of a car to look at. The setting, the story and the mood are as important as the cars, themselves."

Using watercolor as his medium, the high impact colors are extremely vibrant and eye catching. And then there's the incredible details — how the chrome wheels sparkle in the sunlight, right down to the tread on the model correct tires. And that’s only the beginning.

Michael’s use of the reflective surfaces is second to none. He not only reflects the surroundings into the cars, he reflects the cars, themselves, into each other — often, creating a reflection-in-a reflection-in-a-reflection. He draws us even further into the paintings, reflecting elements and cars that are not in the immediate scene, but just outside our view. 100s of hours can go into completing each piece. Michael begins with an idea, followed by sketches, tonal studies, research for technical accuracy and trips to car shows for reference — which is no hardship, he’s passionate about cars! In fact, he currently owns 3 vintage Mustangs and a Firebird Formula!

With a background in architectural illustration, Michael released his first painting to the public in 1994. In 2005 he stepped away from a successful career as a commercial illustrator, to paint classic cars full time.