Michael Embden

Michael Embden

Michael studied graphics and illustration at Brighton College of Art in the 1960's and went on to become a successful freelance illustrator. During the 1970's and 1980's his work appeared in publishing and advertising in Britain, the U.S.A. and Europe, including over one hundred book covers and posters for billboards. During this time he was commissioned to make a series of paintings for a large format edition of the classic Victorian adventure story 'She' by Rider Haggard, published in 1981. One painting from the project was bought by The Victoria and Albert Museum and others have appeared in numerous illustration annuals and books of fantasy art. Read more

During the 1990's Michael gradually gave up illustration to concentrate on landscape painting. In his words, 'Landscape is my natural subject and has always been a major preoccupation in my work, driven by a passion for the natural world'.

Over the years he developed a style which allowed him to explore a strong personal sense of mood and atmosphere through the play of light. He was especially drawn to the quality of light that occurs at the beginning and end of the day; low sun and long shadows that can reveal forms in a poetic, dramatic or dreamlike way.

Michael worked in pure watercolour using no white or body colour, building up many layers of transparent washes to create luminosity and strong tonal contrast.

Michael was based in Brighton for most of his life and made many paintings of the South Downs, his local landscape that continued to inspire him. In later years he was increasingly drawn to the wild places of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, whose landscapes provided him with infinite richness, variety and a more rugged kind of beauty.

Postscript In February 2010 Michael and his wife Pam moved into the Sussex countryside, something they had both always wanted to do and they enjoyed the rural idyll for the last two and a half years of his life. He continued to paint and work and enjoy the beautiful garden there.

Michael sadly died on 21st August 2012 after a long and very courageous battle with cancer. He is greatly loved and missed by all his family and all who knew him.

We at Kings Framers are very proud to have been his framers and his friends.