Artist Biography

Mike Shaw is a resident of two counties- Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Barnstable County, Massachusetts, otherwise known as Cape Cod.


He has lived in Lancaster County since 1994 and has summered every year of his life in Wellfleet, a quaint fishing village on Cape Cod’s “Outer Cape”. Here his grandfather, a well-known New York City magazine editor, built a cottage in 1937. In Mike’s words, “It is never lost on me how truly fortunate I am to be able to live in two of the most scenic and iconic places in our country. Both have a rich history and a visual beauty making them popular destinations for many land and seascape artists.”

From the beginning of Mike’s art career, his focus has primarily been on the dramatic and peaceful scenes of the Outer Cape. The Blue Heron Gallery in Wellfleet has represented his work since 1999, where his paintings have been widely and enthusiastically embraced. Several years ago he made the decision to also begin painting local Lancaster County landscapes. “Friends familiar with my work had long suggested that I paint the local landscape. Every time I am out traveling here I encounter scenes that completely captivate me. It was inevitable that this happen. I had to reorient some of my thinking about composition and color in order to move from harbors, boats, dunes and cedar shake cottages to farm fields, hills, creeks and barns but there are definitely common bonds that connect these two vastly different areas. They both have a largely unspoiled rustic beauty that many are working hard to preserve.”

Mike works exclusively in oil on canvas. Though largely self-taught, his style of representational realism has been strongly influenced by a handful of contemporary Cape Cod realism artists and by the two generations of 19th century artists known as the Hudson River School. With regards to the latter group, focusing on the beauty of the American landscape, there was a commonly held sense that the majesty of God could be revealed and honored by representing on canvas the handiwork of His creation. Concerning his passion for painting Mike says, “Through my artwork I particularly enjoy sharing the peaceful, sometimes melancholic, emotions of late afternoon and evening when the shadows grow long and the world seems to begin to wind down. I have often found myself wanting to freeze time in those beautiful fleeting moments so that I could enjoy them just a little bit longer. In some way I think painting became a way that I could do just that.”  

Mike’s educational experience includes the United States Naval Academy and Muhlenberg College where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Natural Science. He also holds a Master’s Degree in theology from Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Mike’s occupational background includes five years as a singer/songwriter in a Philadelphia based music group, a number of years in the pastoral ministry and 26 years as a sales manager in the corporate world. 


Mike's paintings are in private collections throughout the United States. He is a juried member of the Cape Cod Art Association. He has had a number of one man shows including the Blue Heron Gallery, the New England Open Exhibition in Barnstable, MA, and The Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA. He was a finalist in the American Artist Magazine's 2000 Competition and the Media Arts Group New Artist Competition. Mike was recently featured in the Cape Cod Life- Arts Edition in June, 2019. He and his wife Lisa have three grown children and six partially grown grandchildren. They live in a converted carriage house.

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    © 2019 Michael Christian Shaw