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My Life in One Page,
by Michael Orwick
I was born in 1975 on a sunny day in Astoria Oregon. Despite my near death experience at birth, my Mom thought I was perfect. My Dad, a physician, knew better. These assessments continue today.
Within days of my recovery, my adventures began. Our small family moved to the Olympic Peninsula to live on the Quinault Indian Reservation as Dad served in the Indian Health Service. Most of my memories from those very early years involve an ancient Indian woman known as Gram Black, eating live clams on cold foggy beaches, and our performing circus poodle.
From ages two to four, my family lived in Boise. My parents got me a Golden Retriever who taught me the joy of peeing outside, and they adopted my Colombian sister who taught me patience and the importance of proper grooming.
At the age of four, I became the seventh generation on my mother's side to live in 'the town that friendliness built,' Lebanon Oregon, home of the world's largest strawberry shortcake. Over the years, my family created a sort of odd animal sanctuary and hobby farm with a revolving cast of colorful creatures to ride, observe and endlessly scoop up after. My bedroom was eventually in the tack room, which I shared with my youngest sister's goat. To this day, there is no love lost between me and the nasty rooster who cock-a-doodled any old time.
Very early it was discovered that I had dyslexia, and that I saw things differently from most. School was difficult, but in hindsight this was one of many blessing that have led and helped shape my artful existence. I was also lucky to grow up surrounded by beautiful creeks and evergreen wilderness, and within a family that loved to travel, encouraged curiosity and stressed following one's heart. And my heart has always told me to create.
I started college at the University of Oregon, and for reasons I cannot recollect, I majored in business. Two years in and losing motivation, I jumped at the chance to move to Australia for half a year where I filled up sketch pads with drawings and small paintings. The thought of returning to business classes never crossed my mind.
I spent the next year a transient, sleeping on friend's couches and beanbags, putting together a portfolio, and starting to date my future wife, a beautiful Bulgarian named Gabriela.
Gaby and I started our life together in Portland, Oregon where I majored in Illustration at Pacific Northwest College of Art. I discovered that oil painting and the method of working from dark to light really worked with my 'backwards brain.'
When I'm not illustrating books, I still find my whimsical images and my landscapes to be very illustrative. I love creating art that bids you on a journey in which you're invite to form a story and explore your world within.
Gaby's and my daughter, a creative, inquisitive four year-old, has kept me in touch with my perpetual inner child. Throughout my life, I have been lucky to know beauty and comfort, laughter and joy. These are a few of the things I hope to impart through my brushes.
I look forward to continuing my adventures, inviting inspiration and beauty into my life, and sharing it with you through my paintings.