Michael Adams is the Director of the Dobie Paisano Writer in Residence Program and former Associate Director of the James A. Michener Center for Writers, both at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He is the author of short stories, essays, novels (Blind Man’s Bluff; Anniversaries in the Blood), and a college textbook, The Writer’s Mind: Making Writing Make Sense. For over a decade he has served as a columnist for the Fifth Circuit Reporter, writing on aspects of language. An artist as well, he illustrated his first novel and supplied the cover-art for all three of his books.

His first art exhibit was commissioned for the 1979 Governor’s Inaugural Ball, where some of “The Neon Cowboy” paintings, shown here, were displayed. That was followed by a show at the Student Union at The University of Texas and then at the Rare Discoveries gallery in Dallas. After a long hiatus, he returned to painting mainly for himself, his work finding its way via commissions and word-of-mouth into both private and public collections. 

From the beginning he harbored one passion: the mystery of light and color. Having studied both the techniques, recipes, and trade secrets of the Old Masters and the principles of color found in Josef Albers’ classic Interaction of Color, he eventually began to explore how to control intense light, light that blinds as much as it heightens. Each painting would become a light source within the room. All his work is with oils.

He has gone through several “periods” over the years, two of which are featured here—“The Neon Cowboy” and “Ignition.”