When painting wildlife, Maikel van Emmerik likes to show the animals' emotions. Especially their eyes which play an important role in his art. The kind of animal makes no difference to him. 'Every creature has something special," says the artist, who was born in 1978 in Oss, a town in the southern part of The Netherlands. As a small boy he hiked nearly every weekend for hours with his father in a nearby nature reserve. "this increased my interest in animals and their habitats. at that time I already started drawing and painting them." Gradually his hobby grew into a daily activity.


For his livelihood Maikel chose for the occupation of house painter and six years later, 2001, he started his own painting business. However in his spare time he remained active with wildlife art. "At first I considered the Dutch nature painter Rien Poortvliet as my greatest example," says the autodidact, "now I am mainly inspired by the Belgian artist Carl Brenders and his masterful attention to every detail."

Being a fan of realism Maikel's work on canvas is so fine and detailed that it would be easy to mistake his portraits in acrylic for a photograph. "It's my aim to show what a photo struggles to capture. For me, it's always a big challenge to depict the intimacy of nature so accurately that the image captures the attention of the viewer. Being face to face with a wild animal that close!

Most people will never get that experience in the wild.