Michael studied painting and lithography at Bournemouth College of Art and later at the University of Southampton where he obtained a post–graduate Art teaching qualification. He subsequently moved to Dorset and was Head of Art at Hardye’s School Dorchester until retiring to become a full time professional painter in 1997. His early work during the 1960’s developed along largely abstract lines and drew inspiration from the relationship between the female human form and the organic shapes underlying the ageless and elemental Dorset landscape. As he came to explore and understand the complexities of this landscape he became increasingly interested in the coastline and rivers of the county and began to paint in a more figurative yet broad and impressionist style, which has remained with him until the present day. It was the contrasting patterns of colour and tone as evident in the effects of season, weather or sunlight in particular which he sought to render in painterly terms, in turn giving the work a sense of moment and place. Since 1973 he has lived in Stratton in a house bordering the River Frome, which has provided him with a ready source of subject matter and inspiration. During the 1980’s he embarked on a new series of larger canvasses, which focussed on a “close-up” of fragments of the riverbank, hills and meadows, which surround his home. These freer and larger works enabled him to develop his range of colour and expression and they continue to run parallel to other landscape painting at the present time. Increasing excursions to continental Europe have led to still further changes as he embraced the challenge of new architectural forms, intense sunlight and shadow and a greatly differing palette in the towns and countryside of France and Italy. In 1997 he spent several weeks painting in the Italian Lakes and, significantly, in Venice, revelling in the subtleties of light on buildings and water and the vibrant colours observed. This work now continues unabated with frequent trips throughout the region including Tuscany, Umbria and Liguria, with French landscapes from the Dordogne, Loire Valley and Brittany among recent locations. In 1971 his first one-man show was held at the Dorset County Museum and since then Michael has had numerous such exhibitions throughout the U.K. An exhibition at the John Davies Gallery in Stow on the Wold in April 2001 was followed in September 2002, by a major one-man show at the Catto Gallery in London. Michael is also an accomplished and sought after portrait painter with several celebrities among his commissions including recent portraits of Admiral Sir Ian Garnett and the Bishop of Dover. His work has been collected at home and abroad and is represented in both private collections and public institutions. In 2006 he won the Chairman’s Purchase prize at the Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries. In August 2011, he appeared in the popular BBC television programme ‘Country File’ .

Michael Bowman
  • Bank Street Gallery, Sevenoaks
  • Century Gallery, Henley on Thames
  • John Davies Gallery, Stow on the Wold
  • Thomas Henry Gallery, Nantucket, USA
  • Peterson Hall Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
  • Wykeham Gallery, Stockbridge
  • Catto Gallery, Hampstead
  • Jerram Gallery, Sherborne
  • Pierrepoint Gallery, Bridport, Dorset
  • Nexus Galleries, Edinburgh
  • White Space Contemporary Art, Totnes
  • Peter Hedley Gallery, Wareham