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The art of Michael Lees

Michael's Biography


"The artist has achieved a form of sorcery. The painting comes to life as you gaze at it, suddenly there is a sound of movement, the bow wave ripping aft, sails drumming, the rattle of flying spray. This is a painting that will never merge with the wallpaper, it is a painting to be lived with!" (Des Sleightholme - on a painting of the schooner Hoshi)

Painting in the Open Air Where possible Michael follows the beliefs of the Newlyn School and paints "Au plein air". In doing so he captures the essential vitality of the subject and the interaction of light that can only be caught by working in oils from life. When the subject is not available he bases his painting on personal experiences and knowledgeable technical research.
Flyer, Lifeboatman and the Farm

Michael's aircraft have the sense of realism gained from serving as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. His open seas surge and dip with a movement and transparency that is based on his observations and experiences as a lifeboat crewman, and his boats look right as he sails and maintains two antique dinghies and a classic sailing boat. His landscapes reflect the beautiful part of Devon where he lives; even the chickens and cows breathe life as he periodically looks after a friend's farm!

'A fantastic painting that everyone must see'
Admiral Roy Clare Director of the National Maritime Museum - in his opening speech at the Royal Society of Marine Artists annual exhibition - on a painting 'Stand by to Recover Aircraft' )
Exhibitions On starting his career as a professional artist in 1986 he held a sell out exhibition of horse racing at Newmarket, then, after moving to the West Country, he had a solo exhibition covering all his subjects that sold 48 of the 50 paintings on the opening night. Having established his reputation he finds that paintings often sell before the paint is dry, and that, annually, they top the sales in joint exhibitions held by Gallerie Marin.
Michael's Range Michael not only paints the sea but is a master of a broad range of subjects and paints landscapes, seascapes, vintage vehicles, botanical studies, birds, animals and aircraft.

'Michael Lees' painting shows that he is one of those rare artists who is able to capture the moods of the sea and ships"
(Sir Robin Knox-Johnson - on a painting of the sailing trawler Provident)

Publishers Dozens of prints, cards, calendars and plates have been produced from Michael Lees' paintings. The publishers include: Alan & Bertram Ltd., Bradford Plate Exchange, Fun Factory, Marin, Rosenstiels, Noel Tatt, The Octopus Group, Natura, Laing,  Parnassus, BCA Gallery, Hardsworthy House, Norfolk Art Publishers, Oakwood Editions, The art of Michael Lees
Charity As well as being published commercially the prints have raised tens of thousands of pounds for charities including the RNLI, the Clovelly Lifeboat, the South West Hospice, the Landmark Trust, the Provident Appeal Group, the Maritime Trust and the Island Cruising Club.
".. the real highlight for me was the reaction of the audience when your painting was presented. Clearly the guests were aware that we were presenting some form of picture as the rear of the frame was evident, but the sheer gasp of amazement when I turned it round to present was truly amazing and so uplifting. Thank you so very much" (Letter from Exxon Mobil after the naming ceremony of the Pavel Chernysh - a ship Michael painted in 2006.)
Oil Paintings Prices and Commissions

Michael's original work sells for prices between £2000 and £10,000 and have steadily risen over the years. All the pictures on this site, with the exception of any current work we identify, has been sold.

Michael's paintings invariably sell before the paint is dry so he chooses commissions of subjects that inspire or challenge him.

Michael's work that is not painted to commission sells very rapidly; we will be happy to put you on the mailing/telephone list so that you are warned when a new painting is for sale - but you will need to act quickly when the occassion arises! Please email us on to be kept in touch.


Michael Lees prints have been sold by many retailers and used for advertising and as themes on china and illustrations in books.

Any firm wishing to sell Michael's prints, use an image in advertising on china in books etc should contact us on We will then sort out a financial arrangement that is tailor made for you.
Fund Raisers

If you wish to use a Michael Lees print 'personalised' to raise money for an organisation then please contact us on

We have experience of doing this and organisations have raised sums ranging from £4000 to £16,000 from the sale of 'personalised' prints. We work on the principle that the financial risk to the organisation commissioning the print should be under £80 and we can advise on marketing strategies that have been succesful.

Those who wish to raise money in this way have to be part of responsible organisations. We will need to check the charter and standing of any organisation before entering into any arrangement.


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©2007 The art of Michael Lees