Portrait Society of America mini-conference and demo

Demo and lecture at Studio Incamminati School for Contemporary Realist Art


I just had the honor of winding up my demo and mini conference for the Portrait Society of America at the legendary Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia with Jeff Hein, Ellen Cooper, Natalie Italiano. It was a great weekend! Thank to Kim Azzarito, Krystal, and Christine Egnoski for making it happen. Here is a detail of my demo featuring the wonderful, beautiful model Shanina Dionna.


In My Studio

In my studio with a new freshly primed canvas! So excited that I'm finally getting a chance to start this one.

Painting in my Studio



Luminous Pride - A Symphony in Rose

Luminous Pride (A Symphony in Rose)

This is my latest image. It's oil on canvas and is 48" wide by 36" high. It is about the rhythm of life. It's about the moment after labor before a mother passes out from exhaustion. Below the image is the artspeak statement about my Luminous Pride.


After the violence of labor, after a long journey into light, there is an afterglow of love, a luminosity of pride. It is this dramatic narrative and the musical rhythm of humanity that I attempt to echo in the paint narrative. I’m using spiraling forms and swirling brush strokes as a motif to build a symphony around the ruddy rose color of the baby. The circular motif is inspired by the mesmerizing rhythm of Cy Twombly’s “Bacchus and painted with reverence for the work of 19th century Russian Itinerants, and the Baroque masters Hals and Rembrandt.

A rose is a symbol of new life and purity and represents the fact that a woman must lose her “flower” before she can carry a baby.

The IV provides contrast to the rose. It is a symbol of the violence of labor and serves to remind us that childbirth can be dangerous. An umbilical cord from the mother once provided nourishment to the baby, and now the IV is an umbilical cord to the mother.

This is music.

Drawathon at the Art Students League 8/11/2018

Drawathon Art Students League August 11, 2018


Had a great time at the Art Students League Drawathon on Saturday. I got there late cuz my basement flooded thanks to the torrential rains. Normally I head straight for the long pose so that I can paint. But since I got there late, all the spots were taken. Only thing open with a quick poses. I really enjoyed doing the 5, 10, and 20 minute poses. I drew some of them in pencil and some in a ballpoint pen. And the second half to get along post and get this paint sketch. Unbelievable at 6 a.m. There were still over a hundred people there drawing and painting away. #michaelhardingpaints #artstudentsleagueofnewyork


Demo Art Student's League July 17



I am officially a teacher at the Art Student's League in New York, and I'm very proud of that. It puts me in the company of a long line of fantastic artists who have taught there over the years. Yesterday I gave a short demo on how to block out a head in oil paint.


Emanuel Nine

Emanuel Nine


I'm very proud to have been a part of tribute to Emanuel Nine. The Emanuel Nine are nine beautiful people who were senselessly taken down by a white supremacist on June 17, 2015, at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston SC.The Emanuel Nine are:

  • Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd – Bible study member and manager for the Charleston County Public Library system; sister of politician and former state senator Malcolm Graham.
  • Susie Jackson – a Bible study and church choir member.
  • Ethel Lee Lance – the church's sexton.
  • Depayne Middleton-Doctor – a pastor who was also employed as a school administrator and admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University.
  • Clementa C. Pinckney – the church's pastor and a South Carolina state senator.
  • Tywanza Sanders – a Bible study member; grandnephew of victim Susie Jackson.
  • Daniel Simmons – a pastor who also served at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw.
  • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton – a pastor; also a speech therapist and track coach at Goose Creek High School; mother of MLB prospect Chris Singleton.
  • Myra Thompson – a Bible study teacher.

Nine of the top realist artists in the US were asked to do posthumous portraits of the Emanuel Nine. They are: Catherine Prescott, Greg Mortenson, Judy Takacs, Lauren Tilden, Mario Robinson, Paul Mccormack, Ricky Mujica, Stephanie Deshpande, Terry Strickland.

The Portraits were exhibited at the Principle Gallery in Charleston SC. They are remembered in the catalog. Below is a link to the catalog for the show. It is sold at cost and there is no profit made from it.



Losing You (my selfies)

I was fooling around in my studio. I like to do self portraits because they are a chance to work from a free live model, and the challenge is great for mainttianing my skills. This song came up on my youtube playlist and so I got the karaoke version backing track of it. I recorded the track on my android phone. Then I recorded the vocals and added reverb. I used a little android app called N-Track Studio 8. It's really cool, allows you recorded and mix tracks. This song has special meaning because I always feel like I'm losing myself in day to day life! Yes! It is me singing!

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

What Dreams May Come, oil


Worn out from the rigors of motherhood. Still exhausted from giving birth and the baby exhausted from being born. The car seat is still on the floor, unmoved from the moment they got home. Mommy is wearing daddy’s shirt because it’s easier access to the life sustaining milk.

They are asleep in front of the TV in a small cluttered NY apartment. That is the reality of life in New York.

“To sleep, perchance to dream...” What lies ahead? This is the beginning of three journeys. One is the beginning of a life and the other is the beginning of motherhood. The third is the beginning of fatherhood. I am a father and my presence is felt and symbolized by the rumpled over-sized shirt the mother is wearing.

New life is a symbol for hope and great expectations. I am fascinated by birth and by the fragility of that age. A parent must protect the baby, even when they are worn out and sleeping. Even in sleep, the mother clutches the baby to protect her, to keep her from falling. Mother will do a lot more holding on as the years pass.

I did this painting for a group show for Poets and Artists Magazine at prestigious Arcadia Gallery in California. It was curated by John Seed and Didi Menendez and included some very big names in the world of Representational Painting such as Bo Bartlett and David Kassan.


Botanical Gardens Annual Plein Air Event

Channeling the Monet hat at the Botanical Gardens


Recently got invited to the Botanical Gardens Plein Air painting event.

Note to self: I need to spend more painting outdoors.

Roots, 14"x11", oil


One of the two paintings I did that day.



I'm very excited. I'm finally getting a chance to update the art on my website. It's a work in progress so some of the links may not work. But I'm very excited about adding all the new work I've done recently. I plan to use this page to post about events, new projects, and general thoughts and ideas.