- Isle of Man
The Works of Michele Tramontana
We are pleased to share this collection of six stamps showcasing the works of Isle of Man based artist Michele Tramontana. A key member of the Manx art scene, Michele has lived on the Island for over 50 years, exhibiting locally since 1979, his work much loved both locally and around the world.
Local artist and friend Michael Starkey writes…
Michele Tramontana was born on the 18th December 1947, in Sferracavallo, Sicily; a small fishing village along the coast from Palermo. There, he grew up among the sun-drenched hills and fields and brightly-coloured fishing boats, hence his abiding love of land and seascapes.
In 1966 he came to live on the Isle of Man and, at the age of 24 years, he found his vocation for painting. His father-in-law, an artist, had a studio full of paintings which Michele started to take an interest in and greatly admired. So, encouraged by his wife Brenda, he began his artistic career. He joined the local society, the Mannin Art Group and six months later, in their winter exhibition, he was awarded second prize.
According to Michele, his first exhibition in 1979, which was very successful, was only the beginning of his career, for there is a whole world yet to be discovered. His fascination with the mystery of light and shadow, and the moods of nature, makes the Isle of Man a perfect place for the life-long school of learning. In 1982 he had a one-man exhibition in Helensburgh, Scotland and, in 1989, opened his own gallery and became a full-time artist.
Since then there have been two more very successful exhibitions. The first, in 1991, Churches Throughout the Isle of Man, showcased an obviously varied and beautiful subject, as anyone familiar with the Island will know. The second, The Year of Manx Railways, was in 1993, when the Victorian engineering of the steam and electric railways presented a completely new challenge to Michele’s drawing skills.
Michele’s work continues to evolve and improve, as he sees and finds new depth in light and colour. His pictures, drawings, watercolours and oils are collected by both public and private sectors as far afield as New Zealand and Australia; Canada and the USA; South Africa, Spain, France and - of course - Italy.
Following the success of the gallery in Ramsey, Michele’s son Carlo joined the business and, after looking for another property enabling the business to expand, an additional property was purchased and re-developed in Onchan, opened as Onchan Gallery and Gift Centre in 1996, which Carlo ran successfully for seven years.
In the meantime, after Michele had been commissioned several times to paint the various golf courses throughout the Isle of Man, he worked to prepare for a new theme based on all nine golf courses on the Island. The aim of this exhibition was to show the people the beautiful and fascinating views that each golf course has. It was a great experience and very successful. Each club was very helpful and supportive.
Another very prestigious achievement for Michele was to be invited to produce a painting of snowdrops which was published by the London Folio Society. Michele’s work was alongside great artists such as Van Gogh and, Michele’s favourite artist, John Constable.
Michele’s painting has taken him around the world. In Venice he found such beautiful light, atmosphere and the challenge of painting on the spot, as he always does, was very inspiring and rewarding. On a visit to Australia Michele painted in Sydney, taking the Harbour Bridge as his subject before travelling inland to the rainforest where he found the different plant life and trees fascinating.
Michele retired from the business in 2015, leaving it to his son. He still produces original work for Ramsey Art Gallery and is often offered commissions. He enjoys his retirement by gardening, fishing, walking and spending time with his family.
Still Waiting: Whilst painting this scene a fisherman tied the dog to the post whilst he went to do repairs on his boat. Two hours later the dog was still there looking at me so I decided to include him in the painting, making the dog the focal point.
Sun Setting Peel: Peel is an ‘oldie world’ for an artist like myself. I love the castle and the movement of the fishing boats. I painted this picture in the late afternoon sunlight.
Douglas Harbour: A mix of old and new with the marina full of different boats yachts, motor boats etc. making it a very challenging and interesting subject.
Low-tide Castletown: I love this location as it gets me close to the boats and with the castle in the background it makes this a perfect backdrop and subject to paint.
Ramsey Upper Harbour: Painting sky's is a passion of mine, especially in autumn and winter as it can be much more dramatic. This being a good example.
Sun Setting Port Erin: Port Erin holds a special place in my heart as this was where I first stayed for two years after arriving in 1966. Painting Port Erin bay at sunset is a privilege and makes me feel humbled by its beauty.