By Ellen Chappelle
Edmonds artist Michael Reagan has made a career of drawing portraits. From celebrities to wildlife, his exquisitely crafted pencil drawings have brought him international acclaim and helped raise millions of dollars for a variety of charities over the past 30 years. But after drawing his first requested custom portrait of an American soldier who was killed in Iraq, his focus – and his entire mission – was changed forever.
A military veteran himself, Reagan understands the love these soldiers had for their country, as well as the risks each one faced on the battlefield. He felt called to use his artistic abilities to show respect for these men and women and to bless the families left behind. So he started the Fallen Heroes Project, making it his mission to honor fallen soldiers “for their ultimate sacrifice during the war against terrorism.”
One family member says that Reagan “has unlimited love and respect for the soldiers he draws, and he feels very deeply the tragedy of their loss and the depth of emotion that surrounds his work. He has such compassion for the families with whom he deals every single day – being around him was quite an experience. … He has a very healing presence, and as I said, a very deeply spiritual attitude toward life in general.”
Reagan had drawn 2,000 portraits of fallen heroes to date. He continues to draw about two every day, completely free of charge. You can also read more about Reagan’s work in this My Edmonds News report of the speech he gave during the 2011 Edmonds Memorial Day ceremony .
Stop by Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, at 5th and Alder during this week’s Art Walk, 5-8 p.m. Thursday, to enjoy a display of Reagan’s portraits, along with music and tastings.
Other Art Walk highlights
Artist Pam Mummy will be demonstrating her sculpting technique from 5-8 pm at Manya Vee Selects. Watch her form a single ball of clay into many different faces throughout the evening.
“Quick sketching in clay is a great exercise, just like sketching in a notebook,” says Mummy. “It forces you to memorize the general shapes of the face and body and to quickly recognize the differences. People are acutely aware, usually on a subconscious level, of the slightest differences and what is “normal” and what isn’t. There is an endless amount of one-of-a-kind faces out there, but if you make a mistake in sculpting, even an art novice will pick up on the error. Figurative artists have a tough audience. It’s always fun to do a quick sketch in clay with an audience…especially in Edmonds….a “tough” but fun-loving audience.”
A popular theme in Mummy’s work is “Fight or Flight,” illustrating how a person reacts to danger, so her pieces often include armor or wings. “Sometimes it is best to meet a problem head-on, and other times the best solution is to move on,” Mummy explains. “We choose armor or wings as life dictates.”
Also at this week’s Art Walk, Cole Gallery introduces a new show by featured artist Michael Maczuga. Widely regarded as one of the most stunning figurative artists in the country, Macauga renders soul-capturing paintings of adults and children.
Renowned oil painter Micki Dyson Flatmo is Cole Gallery’s first glance artist this month. Flatmo is known for her breathtaking portraits and international street scenes in bold colors. Both artists will also be celebrated with an artists’ reception on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Many of us enjoy the photography of former Edmonds mayor Gary Haakenson, whose stunning pictures of local sunsets, water and wildlife remind us of the beauty of our town. Windermere Real Estate will host a display of Haakenson’s work during Art Walk.
With a background in theatre and journalism, Ellen Chappelle is perfectly poised to covers the local arts scene for My Edmonds News. She also keeps busy writing and editing for artists and small businesses, publishing an informational site for dog owners and creating handcrafted jewelry. Please keep her posted about all things artistic in Edmonds by emailing her at email@example.com.