Aesthetic Evolution and the Art of Michael Newberry

Past Professor Otis College of Art and Design in Painting, Life-Drawing, and Composition

Aesthetic Evolution

Aesthetic Evolution is an online journal offering Michael Newberry’s contributions to and perspectives on 21st century art. His belief is that the first humans were in possession of an extraordinary gene that triggered our potential to expand and grow exponentially beyond our instinctual state and that this gave rise to art. The artists’ imaginations, expressions, and insights offered us a wondrous place where the audience could experience what it would feel like to live as heroes and heroines, hunters, adventurers, and lovers and the loved. As well as introducing us to a kaleidoscope of nuanced emotions and startling insights. Art far from being used to escape the grind served and serves to open our possibilities and move us both personally and as species to exceptional highs. Unfortunately, postmodern aesthetics and artists are doing everything to take down human evolution and reduce us to blind, deaf, and mute deformities. With this blog and his body of work Newberry hopes to contribute to getting art back on its evolutionary journey.

Newberry, Adam and Eve, diptych, 2016, oil on linen, 72x92"
Newberry, Adam and Eve, diptych, 2016, oil on linen, 72×92″

Art Study

My heart goes out to everyone right now, and I know for many of you it is hard, can’t work and don’t feel too inspired right now. But if you have some art project laying around untouched or a future project you have thought about I can help you and reconnect you to our primal art roots. Tap your potential and connect the dots of emotion, mind, and senses — it is one of the most healthy mental things you can do.

Recent works during the quarantine from two students Susan Surber, the Flower in pastel, and from Sonia L’eatarde, two girls in oil.

We work with email, messenger, and phone. You get understanding, nudging, and homework. Send me an email,, show me some of your works, and we can take it from there. Modest sliding rates, I really want to help.


In dreaming up and working to express love in art, my days, weeks, even years are filled with living this feeling. And when I’m feeling bad there is no other option but to rise up from within and be worthy of this sacred task—the ultimate passion in art. 

Newberry, The Kiss, oil on canvas, 24x36"

“‘The Kiss’ is the most intimate picture I have ever seen.”

Anat Moberman, Ph.D in Art History and Education, current lecturer of Art and Design History. Her website is in English, Hebrew, and Italian.

The Individual

The following paintings are all about the individual exploring themes of discovery, exploration, joy, contemplation, contentment, creative focus, being beautiful, pride, acceptance, giving, gratefulness, appreciation, confidence, intention, litheness, and exaltation.

Newberry, Icarus Landing, 2000, acrylic on linen, 55x36"
Newberry, Icarus Landing, 2000, acrylic on linen, 55×36″


As a 17-year-old art student my art education was primarily postmodern, meaning they didn’t teach realistic drawing or painting. I learned about manipulating visual ideas and to examine the unknown. But my soul loves form, light, space, and perception and to use those to build as high and far as I can. Though I am a romantic realist I love to expand to the outer edges of representational art. But like moving towards a cliff, you’ve got to pull back before going over the edge–a serious artist that disconnects from reality free-falls into a psychotic abyss and becomes the voice of the living dead. The alternative is that by seeing everything outside and inside of us, and connecting the dots we become magnificently alive and fearlessly free to explore existence, and turn those experiences into treasures of creativity.

Newberry, Whispers at Chan Luu Hill House, oil on linen, 84x72"
Newberry, Whispers at Chan Luu Hill House, oil on linen, 84×72″

Definitive Works

Art is a stance towards life, knowledge, sensory perception, and heart. I have been very fortunate that since starting painting at 11 years old I believed in bringing my best from my soul. I didn’t have the words for til recently:

The experience of the sublime is to be looked for in art. Art integrates senses, emotions, and thought. The sublime in art elevates our sensory experience, heightens and taps our emotional potential, and furthers our knowledge. The sublime in art can give us a moral to the story, a stance towards living. At its best, the sublime in art inspires awe in our human potential and gives us a path to evolve as a whole being and as a species.

I have worked full-time up to 3 years to make a definitive work exactly what I hoped. There is a huge misconception that beauty, talent, and positive subjects are easy. When it is the opposite that is true, any moron can rant and rage in art because ugliness and frustration easily come about by artistic incompetence and a retarded mind. While raising the bar in art demands tremendous skill, innovation, integration of knowledge on a massive scale, and love for evolving.

Newberry, Denouement, 1987, oil on linen, 54x78"


I developed a unique style of mark-making in stripes, no blending, and a unique approach to color theory through truthful perceptions of the warmth and coolness of lights and shadows. An important part of personal and theoretical evolution for me is furthering my knowledge of light and color based on real observations.


“It’s an honor to be curbside at your genius!”

Jennifer Grossman, CEO of The Atlas Society


These ink, charcoal, Conte, and graphite drawings are a few from thousands. They range from 1-minute gesture sketches to carefully finished works taking more than 25-hours to complete. They explore line, observation, depth, anatomy, gesture, concepts for paintings, shadows, body expressions, triangulation, or themes. I use drawings to accomplish something specific. In John’s Sunset I prepared for taking as long as it would take to fully explore the loss of my brother. If I only have 5 minutes I might only concentrate on line, shadow groups, or gesture. But whatever I am focused on it is to do or learn something new.

Alla Prima

My Alla Prima paintings are small to mid-sized paintings that are direct from life, wet on wet, and/or done in one sitting. Where my Definitive Works are like Operas, these are more like Etudes, exploring one visual concept or an impression done relatively quickly. Most of them are Plein Air landscapes and still lifes, with some interiors and smaller figurative works. I have used a series of them to recalibrate my studio lights, to reexamine lighting the subjects, to radically explore color theories, and to test my skills at painting tattooed people. I like to work on 3 to 9 works and then move on to another new discovery.


Some of my best works are available as a Giclee–a sophisticated reproduction process with up to 4 million ink pigments per square inch on Rives BFK paper, my favorite paper, archival 100% cotton rag.

Newberry, Synergy or To Receive, 1999, oil on linen, 82x60"
Newberry, Synergy or To Receive Giclee, ink on Rives BFK, 27×22″, 12/100


provence art experience 2020 art workshop

2020, Join Us in Luberon, France for a Very Special 10-Day Pastel Workshop! September 7th-16th.

Find Interesting Shadows and Then Add Light!
We will work very hard on art but we will be catered to with great food, spectacular locations, and calm driver and great host Mathieu Brousses, Owner and Founder of Provence Art Experience and Workshops. And I will be the instructor. Our 2020, September 7th-16th, Luberon, France Pastel Workshop Itinerary


From Basics to Mind-Bending
Over decades of art making I have always asked myself, “What am I doing, what am I trying to do, and does it work?” These tutorials are short and to the point but they also mark almost half a century of knowledge in clear language, visual examples and demos. Anyone of them will spice up your painting/drawing skills, and will immediately bring a spark of life to your work.



Just as the study of light needs a fundamental understanding of shadows, great art criticism needs a profound grasp of the means, motives, and premises of the snarkinator in chief Postmodern Aesthetics. But no negative critique is worth much without learning from art history, without better alternatives, and most importantly without some indicators of evolutionary art practices happening now.


Michael Newberry is a figurative/representational artist with a distinctive brand of beauty, optimism, and passion. With almost five decades of studio and plein air work behind him, he has exhibited in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, New York, Rome, Athens, and currently at the White Cloud Gallery in Washington, D.C. 

Newberry discovered Rembrandt as an 11 year old and Puccini at 26; the two artists have fueled his lifelong devotion to light, aesthetics, and the best of the human spirit. Throughout his career he has painted life-size nudes exploring emotional states such as: loss, longing, pursuits, arrivals, exaltation, and love. He has also explored original color theories, light theory, spatial depth techniques, bodily expression as a window into the soul, symbolism, and how composition can be used to trigger specific states of being such as calmness, stoicism, and excitement. 

He has been an occasional art critic writing and lecturing on the visual arts, contemporary representational artists, and postmodernists. And he has written several original art tutorials. 

Currently he is an instructor with Provence Art Experience and Workshops. He founded the Newberry Gallery in Santa Monica, 2008-10; the Newberry Workshops in Brooklyn, 2006-08;  and the Foundation for the Advancement of Art, 2003. He gave art Seminars in 1998 at Athens College, Athens, Greece and for the Ministry of Greek Culture, Rhodes, Greece. He taught foundation, life drawing, composition, and painting at Otis College of Art and Design, 1990-94.

Important world-renown collectors are Philosopher Stephen Hicks and Designer Chan Luu.

For more in-depth info go here.