by Lee Down

As is so common in all of the really good fairy tales, the prince always comes from a small, out of the way village. And as is right on course for the delightful artist I am about to introduce you to, our Prince of Impressionism, Michael Haughey, hails from just such a village. It is called Three Oaks, Michigan. The most current population is 1,347. We frequently populate our high schools with more students. Currently, Michael lives in a much larger area, barely over an hour away. It is called Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

Michael Haughey’s Path to Art

Like the trek from Three Oaks to Kalamazoo is pointed, Michael Haughey’s journey from from one location to the other in his life was as well. He was a professional figure skater for Holiday On Ice for five tours. Following that, Michael obtained his cosmetology and teaching degrees. After four years of working in salons owned by other people, he opened his own. He called it “Michael’s!” Upon opening his salon, Michael’s goal was to be able to retire by age fifty-five. Twenty years later, he was very bitter sweetly setting his shears down for the last time, at indeed fifty-five. Since then, Michael’s primary profession has been art. He regards art as “a passion (he has) been able to fulfill…. rather than a job.”

Michael Haughey, Holiday On Ice figure skater

Michael Haughey’s Style of Impressionism Origins

As a child, Michael Haughey was lucky enough to have very encouraging parents. He chose piano lessons, countless other music endeavors and I’d bet figure skating lessons would be a safe bet as well! Michael says this stimulating freedom was key in the specific way he paints so extemporaneously with the pallet knife. He feels completely without confines when doing so. His heart and soul are unshackled, asunder, floating and free. This was the nucleus of Michael Haughey’s style of impressionism

Michael Haughey’s Artistic Inspirations

Michael Haughey’s artistic inspirations are reflective of his style of Impressionism….unique and varied. The biggest coming purely from the knowledge that he can give joy to others through his art. This is what drives him as he picks up that pallet knife and begins his loose, free compositions. Sometimes his work appears to border on erratic to me as he is a deft master at applying so many rhythms to one piece.

Another artistic inspiration Michael made point to highlight is that his soul is not stirred by another artist.  He is moved by one piece at a time. 

The final inspiration that sparked the fire in his soul is an experience that happened when he was in the fourth grade. That autumn, there was a Halloween art contest. After all this time, still remembering his teacher’s name, Mrs. Simmons, strongly encouraged him to participate. Michael won that contest using just crayons and paper. Since that very day, Michael Haughey’s thirst for art in his life has never been quenched. 

Michael Haughey’s Style of Impressionism 

Every artist has a style. Some artists follow a style completely. Some artists make up their own style. Michael Haughey is a bit of both. He classifies his art as a “style of Impressionism”. Michael states that he “would rather create an impression than give the viewer a detailed version…..with no room for imagination.” He believes imagination is crucial in all art. So much so, he does not hold regard to there being any rules in art. Michael says, “Anything goes!”

Michael Haughey’s Impressionistic Subjects

Keeping true to his prodigious style, Michael Haughey keeps his subject matter somewhat reigned in. He mainly paints two types of compositions-landscapes and still life paintings. 

Most of Michael’s landscapes are of the “Great Southwest” (United States). He is extremely savvy in his “Great Southwest” landscapes in particular, over all his others. He has gained his knowledge through many visits to his youngest son, who lives in Utah. Michael creates brilliant art with everything from mountains to cacti. He even throws in an occasional bison.
Micheal Haughey’s still life paintings are a force to be reckoned with. They vary from super simplistic to bursting with substance. Both in composition and color. One that very recently caught my eye like no other Michael Haughey painting is “Tea With Lemon and Flowers” . It borders on the end he of whimsy in its charm. And the amount of color is a gnarly exception for Michael. His normal color palette is much more sedate-green, gold, burnt orange, brown-which he says “bring the greatest harmony to a piece.”

Impressionist Painting Tea With Lemon by Michael Haughey
Impressionist Painting Tea With Lemon by Michael Haughey

Sometimes, Michael paints his still life paintings from live sets. Now we know Michael Haughey has got to have some of the coolest decorations and freshest fruit. 

Michael Haughey-Today’s Impressionistic Artist

Whether it’s entertaining an audience while figure skating or styling hair, Michael Haughey knows he must be creative in his endeavors. It is who he is. As is his fresh and inviting style of Impressionism. It has been a part of him as well. 

One thing Michael Haughey  has chosen is how to deal with uncalled for criticism regarding his art. Michael faces it head on with candor, respect and acknowledgment. I’ve personally seen him in action, and have always admired his kindness in the face of beastliness. Michael Haughey is an example for greater good of the world in this regard.

Michael loves to paint into the wee hours of the morning when he can “feel a sense of calm..  without interruptions.” And he painted nearly every day in a make shift studio in his homes lower level.

Another Side of Michael Haughey

Michael lives with his life partner of 36 years, Doug. Michael and Doug have a one-year-old toy Australian Shepard dog, Olivia, whom they cherish greatly. They also have two sons. One lives in Utah and has two small children and the other son lives on a large ranch in Indiana. Michael’s family is what keeps him centered with simple things like weekly game nights and frequent family meals. They are also reflected in a lot of the elation you see in Michael’s art. 

Michael and Doug
Olivia, their Australian Shepard Dog

Gardening is a great part of Michael’s life. He has a magnificent amount of flowers blooming all over his yard when in season. This is yet one more creative outlet for for him. Michael and Doug also take joy in golfing. They play nearly every day during the warmer months.

Michael Haughey and his art are very much the same. They are both joyful, enigmatic, thoughtful, upbeat and exclusive….. Thereby Michael’s style of Impressionism crowns him a Prince of Impressionism. 

Please visit Michael Haughey’s art at:

A Selection of Michael Haughey Impressionist Paintings

There are many more paintings to view on Michael’s Shop Page at the link above so please don’t be shy and pay it a visit. You may find something you’d like to buy for your walls.

A Passage in the Great Southwest, impressionist painting by Michael Haughey
A Passage in the Great Southwest, impressionist painting by Michael Haughey
A Breath Of Spring, impressionist painting by Michael Haughey
A Breath Of Spring, impressionist painting by Michael Haughey
Buffalo, impressionist painting by Michael Haughey
Buffalo, impressionist painting by Michael Haughey
Still Life #72, impressionist still life painting by Michael Haughey
Still Life #72, impressionist still life painting by Michael Haughey

About the Writer

My name is Nikki Finnigan. I am a visual artist and I love the opportunity to write about wall of these amazing artists as it is another way to bring art to my life. Please follow me on-Granny Finnigan’s Art

7 Replies to “Michael Haughey, Is a Prince of Impressionism”

  1. NIKKI!!! MICHAEL!!! Omigosh!!! I’m completely in love with this amazing article and you two, too!!!!!!!!!!! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

  2. A wonderful article! I’m so glad to know more about one of my favorite artists! Michael, you are the very definition of a Renaissance man! And, Nikki, you are as good a writer as you are a painter. You bring Michael to life. Thank you both for sharing the story of Michael Haughey and his wonderful paintings.

    1. Nancy, thank you!! I love writing these articles! Michael was such a fun artist to work with! I’m so appreciative of you taking the time to read this. Michael is an interesting read, isn’t he?

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful article Nikki. YMichael is not only an incredible artist, he’s an amazing kind person! Thank you for sharing Michael’s story.

  4. I’ve known Michael for over 30 years and have a number of his paintings in my home. They bring me joy every time I look at them.

  5. I look forward to Michael’s art virtually every day…it’s always a surprise….doubt anyone would call him predictable ….doubt he would ever want to be called predictable lol…Michael often comments on my artistic attempts with appreciation and encouragement…I value his opinions greatly….thanks Michael for being you and for your paintings….and, you Nikky, for your commentary-an enjoyable read….

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