Originally from Portland, Oregon and a graduate of Portland State University, Michael currently resides in Southern California. Although primarily a self-taught artist, during the last few years Michael has completed workshops and private study with such internationally known artists such as Ken Auster, Michael Hallinan, Jeff Horn, Mark Kerckhoff, and Michael Schofield.
Michael attributes much of his education in painting to his extensive career in printmaking. During the mid 1980s he won a first and second place award for screen printing excellence in an international competition. As technology changed, Michael moved from screen printing to giclee production on large format digital presses. He has created giclees for many internationally renowned artists.
His affiliation with the printing industry allowed Michael to form close relationships with many artists. Always the student, Michael constantly questioned his artist friends about all facets of painting. He subscribes to the theory that an artist can learn more in a short period of time if the artist learns practical painting techniques from successful working artists rather than from a more structured, theoretical university setting.
Michael's style transcends traditional impressionism. His works have a haunting quality of ethereal stillness that transports the viewer to a different dimension. Michael often states that impressionist landscape painters fall into one of two categories: experimental or fantasy. Experimental painters are "gatherings." The source of their inspiration is the culmination of their visual experiences. Fantasy painters, however, create imagery from their mind - their imagination - embellishing the imagery for effect and emotional impact. Michael uses a blend of each with a greater emphasis on on the fantasy component. The execution of his paintings comes from the mind in what Michael often refers to as "planned expressionistic accidents" from stored images of scenes he has observed in nature and embellished by his own imagination.
Michael began concentrating on this art in the late 1980's. His work has sold nationally to galleries, dealers, art auctioneers, private and corporate collectors, and national television. Always the experimentor and innovator, Michael has worked in a variety of styles ranging from highly abstract expressionism to "loose impressionism." "My style is a moving target. I paint what I feel - allowing the paint to flow, rather than working in a particular structured style." Michael signs his small works with his initials "MJT" and his larger works as "Tienhaara."