Given Michael Hurd's family background, one might think he came easily to his success as an artist. However, Hurd dodged his artistic calling until he was almost 30 years of age. Hurd is the grandson of the famous illustrator and painter, N.C. Wyeth, and son of painters, Peter Hurd and Henriette Wyeth. He grew up on his family's Sentinel Ranch in southern New Mexico. The youngest of three, Hurd was encouraged by his mother in his early artistic adventuring, but his more pragmatic father steered Hurd into pursuing a business-oriented education. In fact, before entering college, Hurd became responsible for running the business and daily operations at the ranch. Throughout his college years at Stanford University, Hurd studied business and political science, taking a few art classes along the way. After he graduated, his creative side emerged in the form of music. He played the guitar, touring for a few years with the New Kingston Trio. Later, Hurd worked for a time in industrial development.
It was Hurd's frequent car trips from California to New Mexico that helped him return to his artistic roots. The immense size and variety of the landscape along that often-traveled route prompted Hurd to try capturing its rapidly disappearing feeling of mid-century New Mexico. As a result, Hurd found the inner drive to begin working seriously as a painter.
His oils and watercolors convey a wonderful sense of place, time and mood. Looking at his work, one can see echoes of the Wyeth and Hurd families in his landscape compositions and use of color. Only echoes exist, however, since Hurd's style is distinctly his own. His work is always fresh and inviting. As he puts it: "Landscapes and portraiture offer endless sources of material. In each painting I'm attempting to artistically resolve a particular challenge I've found in the reality of a scene or face."