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Talking With Paint

Painting instructor Michael Peery shares the secrets to "the greatest form of communication"

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Michael Peery, a painting instructor at RISD Continuing Education in Westerly, has translated an MFA from the New York Academy of Art into a career as a successful painter with a stint in France, a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design and Rhode Island College, and a fine-arts instructor in New England and New York City.

“Becoming a college professor was a life goal for me, along with becoming an artist,” says Michael. “When I was in college at Utah State University, I had tremendous respect for my professors and was strongly influenced by them. I have always loved school, from the time I was a child.”

A portrait artist who works primarily with oil paint on linen and canvas, Michael comes from a family rich in talent, including a mother who had her own ballet studio and taught dance for many years. “It stands to reason that I, too, would share that which I have come to understand,” says Michael. “I guess it stems from my natural instincts for wanting to help people.”

There’s a benefit for the artist, too: “In the classroom, as the instructor, you really have to know your subject, which has continued to feed my knowledge and practice of drawing and painting. I have learned more from teaching than I ever did as a student.”

“Art,” says Michael, “is the greatest form of communication; universal, transcending all barriers. So, to surround myself with like-minded individuals pursuing a greater knowledge of this language, and having developed a deep understanding of it for myself, I find myself wanting to share that. Sometimes at the sacrifice of my own work. That is the challenge, and the thrill.”