Block title

Work Samples

474 - Dawn Barely (2022) 24x30.jpg

Dawn Barely 24x30 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... Obviously a landscape, albeit imaginary, I approached this painting as an abstract piece and composed it as such. Mist and fog are favored elements for me. My attraction for fog began in my youth, those Saturday morning paper deliveries where I could barely see the next house on my route.

471 - Misting Woods (2022) 24x30.jpg

Misting Woods 24x30 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... This is one of those quasi-abstract landscapes that I feel compelled to paint every so often. I enjoy painting this way, there’s an element of freedom in its creation. The dots tend to be larger and looser. And I guess I’m not so concerned about the details.

466 - Solstice (2021) 10x20.jpg

Solstice10x20 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... A winter storm scene, a theme that is becoming one of my favorite to paint. Living south of the Mason-Dixon pretty much means I generally don’t experience winter storms such as these. But I grew up as a Yankee and lived most of life where winter scenes such as this are common. I am reluctant to say that I miss them, but there is something special about hunkering down in a severe snowstorm.

468 - Magnus (2021) 16x20.jpg

Magnus 16x20 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... This painting was commission by someone who knew exactly what he wanted. He selected the subject matter, the composition, and the coloring. About the only thing he left to my discretion was where to put the dots. The original composition did not include the boat. There was an empty feeling about it. Discussing with my client I sensed he felt the same, but was reluctant to say anything less he rankle my artistic temperament. So I had to suggest something, with which he quickly agreed.


About Michael

Harford County

Michael Sweet's picture
I am a self taught, painting for over 35 years. A perennial pointillist, my dots began as doodles in college and advanced to larger, rousing works on canvas, which could be seen at, or Michael Sweet Art on Facebook. 1996 was my breakthrough year when I moved to Collinsville, CT. It was a small New England town with a shuttered ax factory, bursting with a flourishing artists’ community, which thrived on its working creators. Fraternizing with these artists accelerated my... more

Notional Paintings

Notional paintings are quasi abstract. Each painting is inspired by a notion, a visceral feeling that generally begins as a vague vision that is realized through the creation of the piece. Sometimes these paintings look more like landscapes than abstract.

  • Imaging Fuji

    Imaging Fuji (24x36 Acrylic on Canvas) ... This painting began as an exercise in texture, but as I came closer to my goal, I realized that something more was needed. Adding the crane to this painting meant sketching it out on a canvas that was supposed to be finished. Not something I was eager to do. But sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to do simply because it needs to be done.
  • Persevere

    Persevere 16x20.jpg ... Acrylic on Canvas ... Painted during the depths of the Time of the Virus. a Time that was supposed to last only a few weeks, or until the weather turned warmer, or until some other goal had been achieved. The sky for this painting was inspired by the sunsets of J.M.W. Turner. I can think of no-one who captured a sunset better.
  • Cyclists

    Cyclists (48x24 Acrylic on Canvas) ... I had painted works on this scale before, but ceased because they took so long to complete. This was the first of a new generation of larger paintings for me. Taking less time as I had recently adopted a layering technique of applying smaller dots on top of larger dots, effectively allowing me to fill the entire canvas in less time. This technique had other bonuses as well, one of which was to create a texture to my work. A trait that I explored in latter works and continue to explore to this day.
  • Churchville Sunset

    Churchville Sunset 16x20 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... This is another example of blending landscape with abstract. Although this one does look more abstract.
  • Markandeya

    Markandeya 16x20 ... This is the second time that I’ve drawn from the Hindu Myth of Markendeya, the first one was painted three decades ago. The story that I read relayed how a wise man had less wisdom than he had believed. But he attained a form of enlightenment in the end, so I suppose it all ended well.
  • Sailing the Simulation

    Acrylic on Canvas ... 12x16 ... This painting pays tribute to Simulation Theory, a theory that proposes that all existence is an artificial simulation written in code that is often repurposed. My purpose with this painting is to show only those elements of reality that one can see, as it is a waste of processor time to display elements that one cannot see. Here, the waves are in the process of being generated, the sky is almost there, the boat is the one element that barely changes, so it is fully generated (at least the outside is).
  • Forgotten Pilgrim

    Forgotten Pilgrim 12x16 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... The Pilgrim theme is one that I have often visited since before I started painting, back when I still worked in color markers. Although I have painted multiple Pilgrim paintings (and usually contains that word in their titles), I usually do so as a landscape. This one not so much.
  • Untethered

    Untethered ... 16x20 ... One of my favorite constructs is William Blake’s idea of “Creative Contraries”. I learned of this as an undergraduate, but have since recognized there are many varying representations of this perception throughout history and cultures. With this painting the contraries are the tumultuous environs and the perfect stillness of the boat. Contraries can break us from receptive thought and awaken us to new perceptions.
  • Tribute to Viggo

    Tribute to Viggo 12x24 ... Inspired by a print created by Viggo Holm Madsen (an artist who does not get the attention he deserves). I met Viggo in my early years of painting, and his advice and encouragement were profound. I wasn’t particularly young when I started painting, and though my drive was real, accepting myself as an artist was difficult. To have a Master such as V.H. Madsen critique my work and encourage me forward was inestimable. I have an owl print of his watching over me in my studio.
  • Swell

    Swell (16x20 Acrylic on Canvas) ... This painting nearly takes me back to my first paintings, which were almost exclusively of vortices and spheres. Another notional painting, and like the others I’ve thus far displayed, I hold a strong reluctance to explicate it.


For most of my 30+ years of painting I have focused on impressionist landscapes. 

  • Before Dawn on the Chesapeake

    Before Dawn on the Chesapeake 18x24 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... Another painting of the lighthouse down the street from where I live. Trying to catch the grayness that permeates the atmosphere before dawn.
  • Chesapeake & Delaware Canal

    Chesapeake & Delaware Canal 48x24 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... Based on a photograph I took from the bow of a friend’s boat as we returned to Havre de Grace from Chesapeake City. This is one of those paintings that I struggled with, putting it aside several times to work on other pieces as I reflected on how to make it work. In the end it took several months for me to complete. More than several.
  • Thomas Point Shoals

    Thomas Point Shoals 24x12 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... I seem to have created multiple paintings of lighthouses since moving near the Chesapeake. It’s a mystery to me, too. This painting was inspired by a photograph taken by a friend. As soon as I saw it I stopped working on a project (which I’ll get back to eventually) and started sketching this one.
  • Mott Street

    Mott Street (12x16) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... Chinatown, Manhattan. My intention here was to paint a cityscape as if it were a photograph whose colors had altered over time
  • Concord Point

    Concord Point(36x24) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... A subjective painting. Inspired by a walk along Havre de Grace's Promenade on a foggy day. I hope there is some notional aspect to this work. Painting a fog shrouded scene severely mutes the colors, which I hope introduces a hint of mystery to this picture. A mystery that the viewer is invited to resolve..
  • Ele in London

    Ele in London (12x16 ... Acrylic on Canvas ... A cityscape where I look to capture the uniqueness of London, the raininess we Yanks tend to relate with this fabulous city, and the general urbanity.
  • Washington Square

    Washington Square(16x20) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... Washington Square in the Village is known for Chess. Fabulous to see the concentration its players. I never felt myself up to the challenge to join them.
  • Collinsville

    Collinsville (15x30) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... Collins Ax Factory is the landmark of Collinsville, CT. Shuttered in the 1960's, it was the cynosure of an artist colony that I stumbled into after my return from Mombasa. It was a hidden gem that is now only a vestige of that enchanted time.
  • Locust Hill Farm

    Locust Hill Farm (24x36) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... Sometimes I think about a painting for several years before committing it to a canvas. “Locust Farm” is one of these. The farm is situated off a minor highway east of our home. I pass it often, but it took several years before committing myself to it. Part of the delay was that I knew it called for a larger format than I generally work with.
  • Tugboat with Cormorants

    Tugboats with Cormorants (16x20) ... This is my second painting of a tugboat with cormorants on a foggy day. The composition is somewhat different from the first one. The essential effort was to apply a technique that I’ve been using this past year to complete paintings in less time.


Not quite real, not quite abstract. Landscapes of the mind, I suppose.

  • Old Growth

    Old Growth (36x48) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... My largest painting to date. This work was inspired by the landscapes of Gustav Klimt. Trees are one of my favorite subjects. I have painted a fair amount of “treescapes” (compositions that are little more than trying to see the forest from the trees). Indeed, my third painting contained trees, the first time that I ever painted something representable.
  • Innocence (of Józef Rippl-Rónai)

    Innocence (of Józef Rippl-Rónai) (11x14) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... This painting is an interpretation of “A Park at Night” by Józef Ripple-Rónai. Innocence refers to the historical moment when he painted it, the very end of the 19th century. In our time, change is swift, and so much of the past is forgotten.
  • Second Flight

    Second Flight (24x36) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... There is something about our avian cousins that continually draw me, at least if you look at my body of work and see how many have birds in them. The title of this painting comes from its inspiration, an unusual inspiration for me in that it’s a painting I did 2017, titled “First Flight”
  • Passing Storm

    Passing Storm (24x30) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... Winter can be inspirational. In painting this one I was reaching back to my earlier paintings that had a more Grant Wood feel about them. This is especially noticeable in the rounded hills in the foreground.
  • Mariner

    Mariner (30x40) ... “Mariner” exemplifies a blend of my notional and subjective paintings. It’s clearly subjective in that you can identify the elements portrayed. But its minimalist composition allows, if not invites, more freedom of interpretation (as opposed to a landscape or city street scene which isn’t much more than that). I hope that “Mariner” tells a story, one that is generated in the mind of the user.
  • Happy Valley

    Happy Valley (36x48) ... Acrylic on Canvas ... I began this painting before moving to Collinsville, CT, and completed it there. It is pretty much the terminus of my Africa themed paintings. The animals pictured here were all from photographs taken on games drives in Tanzania when my friends, Liela and Mark, came to visit. This was also the first painting that I gave to a woman who I was courting. As a gift, it suggests how confident I was, for I still think of it as one of my best. The painting now graces my studio. And the woman I was courting married me a couple years later.
  • Reflections

    Reflections (48x24) ... “Reflections” is a commissioned piece. The request was for a large vertical work (this is 48”x24”) with a high horizon. And so we have a painting of an island in a river, with the island trees’ reflection taking precedence over the trees themselves. I tend to focus on one painting exclusively until it’s completed, but I got “stuck” a few times with this one and had to set it aside and work on something else. It took several months to complete.
  • Wanderon

    Wanderon (12x16) ... Inspired by a friend's motto. I'm not sure if either he or his wife can tell me how many places they have lived. He is a retired sailor who never went to sea. As oxymoronic a person as I have ever known.
  • Sisters

    Sisters (16x20) ... My intent with this painting was to meld notional with landscape. This has been my ambition throughout most of the year as I have focused on notional paintings, many of which are pure abstracts. I am inspired in this direction by the contemporary painter Peter Doig. But I am most influenced by the greatest (my opinion) English painter JMW Turner. This work was actually difficult to execute. And though it began as an experiment of sorts, as it came together I discovered it expressed a deep personal feeling as well.
  • Flying Dutchman

    Flying Dutchman (24x24) ... A quasi-historical theme. “Quasi” in that it’s based on a maritime myth from the 19th century. A ghost ship that never makes port, doomed to sail the oceans forever. Since completing it, I’ve been told that this ship is also featured in a Disney movie.

East Africa

I spent two years, from 1992-1994, in East Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I was stationed in Mombasa, an historic city on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Thanks to a friend who sent me supplies, I was able to paint scenes from my life  there. These pieces were all painting while I was living in Mombasa.

  • Mombasa

    Mombasa (Acrylic on Canvas Board 12x16) ... At one point I hired a local fisherman to take me out in his boat to photograph the shoreline where I lived. The Burhani Mosque on the left is a noticeable landmark. The building on the right with the green roof is where I lived. What looks like a doorway to open space is actually a window that, when open, gave me a phenomenal view of Old Port and the Indian Ocean. And it also provided an often appreciated ocean breeze.
  • Ndia Kuu

    Nadia Kuu (Acrylic on Canvas Board 12x16) ... A simple translation of Nida Kuu could be “Main Street”. It was the only street in Mombasa’s Old Town that effectively ran in a straight line, all others composed a maze which I often used to guide upcountry compatriots to my flat. (I did this to make it difficult for them to find their way back on their own.) The little alleyway on which I lived was directly off this street. In the distance, at the beginning of this road, you can see Fort Jesus, a fort built by the Portuguese a few years after Columbus’s first voyage.
  • Mandhrey Mosque and Well

    Mandhrey Mosque and Well (Acrylic on Canvas Board 12x16) ... Mandrey Mosque is the oldest mosque in Mombasa. Nights come early and quickly in Mombasa. Most folks shutter up not long after darkness comes. But it was not uncommon for me to wander the labyrinthine pathways of Kibokoni (Old Town) late in the evening, where I would occasionally pass an Mzee (old man … a term of respect and endearment) doing the same. The quiet was seductive. And because I lived in the community, and everyone there knew it, it was always safe.
  • The Lenven Steps, Mombasa

    The Lenven Steps, Mombasa (Acrylic on Canvas Board 12x16) ... This is my first painting after moving to Kibokoni (aka Old Town) in Mombasa. In this painting, the white building with red trim was my home. My studio apartment can be identified by what appears to be a doorway that opens on to empty air. In was truly a place of inspiration.
  • Basheikh Mosque

    Basheikh Mosque (Acrylic on Canvas Board 12x16) Sometimes fellow Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) asked to stay at my flat during a trip to Mombasa. I was kinda required to accommodate them. I would generally meet them at Fort Jesus to guide them to my home. If you recall the blurb from Ndia Kuu, then you know that getting to my place was pretty much a straight line. But the shortest distance between two points is boring, so I rarely took that path. I lead my guest(s) through a maze of streets and alleyways, sometimes walking in complete circles. Invariably we would pass this mosque.
  • Fort Jesus

    Fort Jesus (Acrylic on Canvas Board 12x16) ... Built by the Portuguese in 1593-1596, more of a prison to those assigned there. It guards the entrance to the Old Port. The New Port is on the other side of the Mombasa island, and it can modern handle ships that make the boats in Old Port look like quaint toy models.
  • Jahazi

    Jahazi (Acrylic on Canvas Board 12x16) ... In the autumn of ’92 I joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Kenya to teach Pascal programming at Mombasa Polytechnic Institute (now named Technical University of Mombasa). The first year there is my longest period of not painting since I first applied acrylic to canvas. My friend, Leila, rectified this situation by sending me some paints, a few brushes and a dozen canvas boards. I feel that the paintings I did in East Africa marked a new level for me.
  • Coffee Drinkers

    Coffee Drinkers (Acrylic on Canvas 16x20) ... A few months before my Peace Corps contract was complete, I ran out of the canvas boards that Leila had sent me. So I told my friends there that if they gave me a canvas then I would return it after I covered it with dots. This was one my favorites. An imaginary scene intended to capture a few elements from the couple years I spent in East Africa. The center piece is a Baobob tree, these monster trees are common upcountry (away from the coast) and never fail to impress.
  • Self Portrait

    Self Portrait (Acrylic on Canvas Board 12x16) ... And here I am in my flat overlooking the Old Port of Mombasa. The cat came with the place.
  • Old Port, Mombasa

    Old Port, Mombasa (12x16) ... This was the view from my flat, the old port of Mombasa. Ancient looking dhows still traveled to and from here, trading in figs, spices, salted fish, among other things. In the distance is the Indian Ocean. I never tired of this view. At night, I fell asleep to the sounds of waves lapping at the base of my building.

Before I began to paint

My pointillism began as stipple doodles. The first was done on a cardboard box while sitting in the Cleveland bus staion. I continued them in the margins of my notebooks while I worked towards my Masters Degree in Computer Science. From there they migrated to journals, which meant the doodles looked more like drawings as they were now larger.

After a time I went to larger paper, which meant larger dots. And then one day in early 1988 one friend took me by the hand to Pearl's on Canal Street in lower Manhattan. He led me to the fourth floor, handed me a basket and then started tossing in things I would need to start painting. When he was satisfied I had enough to begin, he told me to pay for it and set me off.

  • First Stipple Doodle

    This is my first stipple doodle, drawn on a cardboard box while I waited in the Cleveland bus station for the next bus to Bismarck. I had missed my connection and the next bus wasn't scheduled for another six hours. The cardboard box was my case for a cheap guitar, which I never learned to play well.
  • Journal Stipple 1

    An early example of a stipple drawing done in a journal. I often included spheres in these drawings. They were remarkably easy to execute.
  • Early Vortex

    My earliest work usually had a vortex in it. I've always felt a spiritual connection with the vortex, although through the years I've never really made any sense of it. Even today, I ponder it. I think it has something to do with the Holy Spirit.
  • Cynosure

    The center of a vortex is a cynosure, and that's what this stipple drawing is about. Much like a singularity that has exploded. The moment of creation.
  • Complexity of Spheres

    I often drew spheres in both the positive and negative space. Here is an example of both in one drawing.
  • Unusual Space

    This stipple drawing really digs into a view of reality that has no place in reality. It shows to me the unlimitedness available to us all.
  • Vortex around nothing

    I drew this one several years after my first doodle. It shows a complexity that had developed over time. A development other artists are familiar with.
  • Vortex on Vortex

    A later stipple drawing, when I blended vortices.
  • Larger Stipples 1

    I moved on to paper that was larger than a journal page and I hit a brick wall. My stipple drawings weren't working. I spoke with a friend, telling her I am working on larger paper but I felt like I had to learn how to draw all over again. She looked at me and said, "Larger paper? Try larger dots."
  • Larger Stipples 2

    When I moved on to larger dots on larger paper, I also seem to move on to more spheres as well. I continued with my vortices, although sometimes a vortex looked a little different.

Connect with Michael

Michael's Curated Collection

View Michael's favorite works from other Baker Artists