Growing up outside of Cleveland, Ohio in a musical family, Michael McKee grew up in a family with a lot of love and a strong appreciation for the joy of creative effot, and the value of art and music, and art in the human experience. For this, and much more, McKee will always be grateful.

A National Scholastics Art Scholarship winner, and Honors graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, McKee has spent his professional life as a portrait artist, illustrator, graphic designer, art director and for 15 years as the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Successories Inc. 

Having accomplished all he wanted to in the commercial art world, it was time for him to embark on a new journey…the journey of an artist whose expressions are more personal, and directed only from within.

Over the last 14 years, McKee has traveled many times with his wife, to different parts of New Mexico. As an inspiration by the range and density of color found in the texture of the high desert landscapes, McKee always has a beautiful image to paint.

On one of these trips, McKee and his wife were standing on an overlook outside of Chimayo, when they saw the most incredible sunset they’ve ever seen. Reaching down and picking up a handful of red earth, McKee began rubbing it between his fingers, feeling as if he could feel the sunset in his hands. For McKee, it’s like seeing the world through new eyes. At that moment, the earth felt like soft pastels and as soon as he got home to his studio, he ordered his first set of soft pastels and began working.

McKee explored the feeling of soft pastels furiously for two years. This medium helped him to express color in ways he could only dream about in the past.

For the last eight years, he has enjoyed much success exhibiting in art shows, galleries and art festivals around the country, showing and selling his ‘abstract impressionist’ landscapes. With this success, and the face-to-face relationships that he has with collectors’, it has inspired him to paint even more enthusiastically than before.

The relationship McKee has developed with the medium of soft pastels is one that he gets from no other medium, and when he is working, it feels as if he is painting with the earth itself.

“My landscape and abstract impressions all come from simple memories of moments and places, and are all created with a spirit of joy.”


McKee currently resides in Wheaton, Illinois with Cassandra, his wife, creative companion, best friend and inspiration since 1989, his warm-hearted daughter Taylor, whose passion is anything having to do with animals, and their Greyhound, ‘Titleist.’ Their pugs, ‘Waldo’ and ‘Winston’ passed away a few years ago leaving us with 15 years of love and fond memories.