ARTIST Michael Scherden

A junior-high-school drawing class exposed me to the love of creating art. But, it was my job during college—as a mail boy for a San Francisco advertising agency—which actually launched my art career.

There, excited after seeing, first-hand, the creative job possibilities as a commercial artist, I enrolled at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, from which I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising Design. Landing my first job right out of college—as an Art Director for McCann Erickson Advertising in San Francisco—was thrilling, but the excitement was cut short. Uncle Sam had other plans; I was drafted by the Army, and ultimately sent to Viet Nam, after working at McCann for only six weeks.

Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant after graduating from OCS, I was first stationed at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, the state to which my wife and I returned after my Army stint was over, and is the state in which we still reside.

Restarting civilian life as an Art Director took place in nearby New York City, where my advertising career spanned 27 years at three agencies, working as a Senior Art Director and Vice President on major national and international advertising accounts, both in TV and print, including the creation of the first national print campaign for Lego Toys. Being challenged to come up with imaginative ideas for brands like Quaker Oatmeal, Panasonic; M&M Mars, Snickers, Starburst, and Nivea Skin Cream always kept the creative juices flowing to the point I never felt I worked a day in my life.

Love of art didn’t end when my job in NYC ended; it continued in freelance form. More importantly, my love of fine art was reignited when I began—for fun—tudying watercolor under the mentorship of well-known watercolorist, Donald Voorhees. It had been decades since I had put brush to paper, but the thrill was back! Painting, now, for over 14 years, I specialize in portraiture and landscapes, and love every minute of it! My interest in landscapes comes from a deep appreciation of both natural and man-made creations, with their endless palettes of texture and color. A rusting fishing boat in a local harbor; a gilded, medieval clock in France; the shifting waters in a Venice canal, all call to me. Similarly, the innumerable, diverse faces of the world offer endless opportunities to show the dignity and diversity of humankind: a gnarly blacksmith from Texas; a craggy, roadside vendor on the Amalfi Coast; an Afghan Pashtun tribesman in layers of native garb. All present a textured, intimate view into a life to be explored. I feel strongly that they have to be painted. And detail is key.

When painting, I get lost in the details of the subject mater: the deep wrinkles in a weathered face; the distinctive shape of an expressive mouth, or the joyous glint from a child’s eyes. Each detail extends a glimpse of my subjects to those who view my paintings, but not with a style typical of most watercolorists; my paintings have an opacity not generally used in many watercolor paintings.

I currently hold Signature Membership in the American Watercolor Society, Allied Artists of America, Audubon Artists of America, North East Watercolor Society, Garden State Watercolor Society, New Jersey Water Color Society, and Hudson Valley Art Association. My watercolors have been shown in local, national and international exhibitions, garnering many awards from various local, national and international art societies.