Jeffrey LaBonte

'Dorothy Pond' by Michael Graves. Photo courtesy of Michael Graves

‘Dorothy Pond’ by Michael Graves. Photo courtesy of Michael Graves

For over 45 years, Michael Graves has been capturing the idyllic scenes for which New England is known. The Millbury based artist has collected dozens of awards and recognitions over the years, and now his works will be on display at the Massachusetts Statehouse.

From November 18 through January 6, several of Graves’ landscapes inspired by the Second Worcester District will be featured in the lobby of the State Senate, according to a statement from Sen. Michael Moore.

Said Graves, “Senator Moore asked if I could display some works from the towns he [Moore] represents: Auburn, Grafton, Millbury, Upton, and Whitinsville.”

Graves is planning to display several Auburn paintings that include a scene from Farmer’s Daughter and the Auburn Sportsman’s Club.

Graves, a Millbury native, is a “plein air” artist, meaning nearly all his work is done outdoors, onsite. His first love is his hometown of Millbury and its many scenic farms and landscapes. He also enjoys painting the many vistas and coastlines across New England. Graves usually paints in oil on canvas.

“The oil paints are better to work with year-round in the outdoors” says Graves.

He has always loved art, and began drawing and painting as a young child. Initially, Graves went into the trades, while persuing art in his free time. In the early 70s, Graves met renowned New England artist, Bernard Corey.

“He mentored me, and we became good friends” said Graves. “We painted together almost every day for about 20 years.”

He added, “There used to be quite a group of us. We’d set up and paint around the area together. There are a few from that local group left now.”

While much of his training was in the form of practice and mentorship, Graves did take some formal art classes.

“In the 70s, I took a course by mail through the Famous Artists School” said Graves. “I also took courses at Anna Maria, while my wife was there. I think I took every art class they had.”

'Ward House' by Michael Graves. Photo courtesy Michael Graves.

‘Ward House’ by Michael Graves. Photo courtesy Michael Graves.

Later, Graves took a job as a school night custodian, where he worked for 17 years, so that he could paint during the day.

The dedication and persistence has paid off. Today, Graves is a full time artist. He has received over 70 awards and medals, been featured in a variety of books and publications, and been inducted into numerous national art associations. He was recently accepted to the prestigious Guid of Boston, based on Newbury St. in Boston.

There will be an art reception on December 1, 2016 in the State House Reading Room at 24 Becon St., Boston from 1pm -3pm. The event is free to the public and includes light refreshments.

His artwork can be viewed and purchased at over a dozen fine art galleries across New England, as well as on his own website. Graves also has a studio at his home on Haywood Ln. in Millbury, and visits can be arranged by appointment. To learn more about Michael Graves and his artwork, please visit his website: http://mikegravesgallery.com/