Modern Impressionists: Steve Barton and Michael Flohr

a river scene with bridge and boat with a serenade michael flohr art

 Modern Impressionists In Our Gallery

The art that you will find at Marcus Ashley Gallery in South Lake Tahoe is evocative. Many people find that impressionist work has the power to bring emotion to everyday scenarios. We have two modern impressionists represented in our gallery; Steve Barton and Michael Flohr. Their ability to use their painting style to capture the feelings of their topics. Our gallery offers over 30 world renowned artists that will surely bring something exciting to your home or office. Today we will be exploring the works of our impressionists, Steve Barton and Michael Flohr.

Brief History on Impressionism

The style we now know as impressionism began as a movement in the 19h century. The impressionist movement was characterized by the use of deliberate, visibly brush strokes. These are used to express exaggerated lighting, movement and emotion in everyday subject matter.

The term impressionism was coined in reference to Claude Monet’s painting Impression, Soleil Levant(Sunrise) ” Monet would go on to be one the figure heads of the impressionist movement in France. Other famous artists from this movement include; Renoir, Pissarro and Edgar Degas. The impressionists were inspired by the works of painters like Georges Seurat who used small dots of paint to create a more accurate representation of light.

Their works would end up changing the art scene in France forever. Eventually their impressionistic work would be brought to the public in an exhibition put on by Napoleon III. This exhibition would go on to be called the “Salon des Refuses” and was strictly for art that did not fit the standard styles of the day. Impressionism would go on to become a staple in the French art world and has captivated audiences ever since.

Why are we intrigued by impressionist art?

Impressionist artists are often known for their use of color and light, but there’s another element of their work that is fascinating: their use of the unexpected. Impressionist paintings are full of things that don’t quite make sense—a patch of green grass on someone’s coat; an impossibly warm patch of sunlight; colorful dots floating loosely against an otherwise-black background. These seemingly random details stick with us long after we’ve seen them in person or on screen. Why is that?

Often these details aren’t typical things we see every day, they catch our attention immediately. And when something catches our attention—whether it’s through its color or through its oddity—we tend to remember it better than other things we’ve seen before (or since). When we see it the brain feels something that a lot of art might not bring to the table. This is why we love seeing impressionists paint everyday scenes, they often see something that makes an otherwise dull scene something to remember.

might with sunset on the beach steve barton art

Steve Barton

Steve Barton, originally from New Hampshire, learned much of his painting skills from his mother who was also an oil painter. Barton would go on to study at the Rhode Island School for Design. It was in college that Barton was able to further his impressionist style. After graduating, he traveled to the West Coast to broaden his horizons and inspiration. It was in California that Barton’s work took on the vivid, dreamlike quality that we experience today.

Steve Barton is an artist who loves to paint places that he would want to be at the time. He spends much of his time combing the surrounding areas of the California coast for inspiration. Collectors will see his paintings showcasing things like a tropical beach, the mountains, or even just a cozy cabin somewhere. He uses impressionism to bring even more joy to these areas. The way he paints his palm trees and ocean water brings a feeling of tropical vibes to any room.

Steve Barton’s Unique Style

Steve Barton has even taken things a step further with his use of his trademarked “Wavy Frames”. These frames and canvases were originally made by mistake in 1999, but the collector loved it so much that he continued the process. Viewers will notice that Barton’s paintings are stretched in a way that creates movement. The frames themselves are also Wavey and make the painting jump off the wall. These frames coupled with the impressionist use of vivid brush strokes evokes emotion that is often not seen in the art world. The art invites the viewer to jump into it, also the deliberate brush strokes on canvas are striking in their beauty.

Where to find steve barton’s work

Barton’s works are represented worldwide and can be seen anywhere from Hawaii to Puerto Rico. Steve Barton lives in Oceanside with his wife and spends much of his time giving back to the community. Barton also spends a lot of his time in South Lake Tahoe as he owns a home up here and calls it his second home. He often comes into the gallery for spur of the moment painting or just to come in and lend a smiling face to the gallery.

A painting of a blue and yellow sunrise over Lake Tahoe entitled Sunrise by Michael Flohr.

Michael Flohr

Michael Flohr is a true impressionist. From a young age growing up in Lakeside, California he began drawing with the encouragement from his family. They felt like art would be a great outlet for him and they were right. His style is very unique to himself, it is best described as a mix of avant-garde, abstract expressionism and impressionism. Flohr’s early works evaluated the value of texture in paintings and often showcased square brush strokes.

Michael Flohr’s style

As that ability scaled, Flohr began to express himself more through elaborate brush strokes that are longer and show more finesse. This style was something that came with him from childhood when Flohr began his time at the San Francisco Academy of Art University. There he would learn how to bring that true Michael Flohr flavor we see today. In his final year of school he was awarded the Herman Lambert Scholarship at the New York Society of Illustrators, joining the likes of Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth. He was then selected to showcase his art at the M.H. De Young Museum in San Francisco, solidifying Flohr’s talents in the history books..

Michael Flohr often states that although he learned a lot from his time in school, it was exhibitions that brought him knowledge on how his paintings should feel. While Flohr traveled across the country he would sit in small low lit bars and sketch what he felt from the bar. Many of Flohr’s most famous paintings have been from these bars and from the city streets surrounding them. These paintings often start as simple sketches that Flohr brings to life. Flohr tries to capture the emotions of the space,and  the feelings of the night. Michael then paints the remainder from the memory itself.

Flohr’s Favorite subject

One of his favorite things to paint is his wife Mel, whom Flohr met while in art school. You will often see her as “The Lady in Red”, whether that red be an umbrella, a hat, or a dress you will often see her in his night life paintings.

Michael Flohr work can be found displayed in galleries across both the US and Canada. You will often find him in cafes in San Diego with a sketchbook looking for inspiration for his next piece.

Come visit our Lake Tahoe Gallery

Whether you are looking for a new piece of art to brighten up your home or office, we can help. Each of these artists has a unique style that is sure to please even the most discerning eye. With over 100 years of combined experience working in galleries, there is no doubt that the staff at Marcus Ashley Gallery will be able to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Join us at Tahoe’s favorite locally owned and operated gallery.