Award-winning artist and art instructor M.E. "Mike" Bailey presents new work in "Something Beyond the Obvious," a show opening Mondayat Viewpoints Gallery. A reception with the artist will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Bailey says he first started painting in watercolor at age 46 as a method of stress release for his job in high tech marketing. After a few years he started working as an estimator in the roofing business, which he recalls was "an ideal setup" for concentrating on his painting. "We didn't work on rainy days," he notes wryly.

He began his artistic studies earnestly, "painting often and in multiples," and then studying at one-week workshops with various artists in the United States. "I studied as hard as I could, consuming nights until the wee hours and reading lots of publications and books about painting," he said.

It finally came together after five or six years "of being so driven to learn." At that point other painters started coming to him for instruction. Bailey taught for about five years for the UC Santa Cruz extension. After that he started teaching at art societies in the Bay Area.

"As my paintings began garnering awards around the country in various competitions and exhibitions, the demand for my teaching reached across the United States and beyond," he says. He's taught from coast to coast and internationally in Spain and France.

He has many fans who think of him as an extraordinary teacher and give him credit for their breakthroughs to artistic understanding. Bailey has a great sense of humor that helps keep his workshops fun as well as challenging and fruitful. He spends 15 to 20 weeks each year instructing groups, from beginning painters to the advanced.

This spring he is teaching the plain air class "Paint Point Reyes Landscapes" from April 26-28. In July he's presenting "Paint in France with Mike Bailey and Friends" at the Domaine du Haut Baran Art Retreats in Puy l'Eveque, France. That course is July 8-18. Check his website at www.mebaileyart.com for full information about these classes and others he is giving in the coming months.

Open studios are another way of sharing his art with the public. Bailey notes that he has held an open studio at his home every year for 23 years.

His most recent honor is having his work accepted into the International Biennial Watercolor Competition in Shanghai, China. That exhibition had more than 9,000 entries from 62 countries as well as China, and just 180 were chosen for exhibition. His painting "is currently touring with a few others in the show to various venues in China," he says.

Bailey is associated with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society and is a signature member and president emeritus of the National Watercolor Society (NWS). His works are held in private and corporate collections in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

"Something Beyond the Obvious" will be on view through Feb. 23. Viewpoints Gallery is at 315 State St., Los Altos. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Call 650-941-5789 or visit www.viewpointsgallery.com.

It's love

Gallery 9 focuses on "Love, Love, Love" for its next exhibition, which opens Tuesday and will continue through Feb. 23. A reception for the 30-artist group show will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The show includes work by mixed media artist Joyce Savre, oil painting by retired clinical psychologist Gene Zukowsky and the monotype "Love" by Cherise Thompson. Other media in the show are etching, monotype, metal work, photography, ceramics, wood sculpture and jewelry.

The gallery is at 143 Main St., Los Altos. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Call 650-941-7969 or visit www.gallery9losaltos.com.

Human spirit

An exhibition of paintings and drawings by Roberto Chavez is on view at Wiegand Gallery through Feb. 23. A reception, which will feature a discussion by painter Robert Ross, a friend of the artist and author of the catalog essay, from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

There are more than 40 works featured in the show. In addition, an 88-page catalog with 69 color reproductions will accompany the exhibition. The artist, now 80, is recognized as an influential figure in California art.

Ross writes that Chavez's work "is powerful and life affirming in its celebration of color, of light, of the pure discovery of human meaning and pictorial possibility," although "much of his work is challenging and even troubling."

The Wiegand Gallery is on the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University, 1500 Ralston Ave., Belmont. Gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. Call 650-508-3595 or visit www.wiegandgallery.org.

Information on visual and literary arts can be sent to Bonny Zanardi at Bzanardi@aol.com.