Michael J. Deas is a master realist painter and one of the nation’s premier illustrators. Working from his studio in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, he creates paintings and drawings with an elegant eye and a mastery of the oil medium unusual in a contemporary context. Raised in suburban New Orleans and later in Long Island, NY, Deas began illustrating novels and childrens’ books at age 19. He has subsequently gone on to paint six covers for TIME Magazine, twenty-one postage stamps for the US Postal Service, and the cover for the 20th-anniversery edition of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. Two of his stamp portraits, of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, are among the best-selling in US postal annals. His luminous redesign of the Columbia Pictures Logo, painted in 1991, remains one of the most familiar images in cinematic history
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commissioned Rebekah at the Well from renowned illustrator Michael Deas. The commission was unusual as Deas is not Mormon and the Church has not worked with non-members extensively since working with Harry Anderson. Rebekah relates the story of Eliezer finding Rebekah to be a wife for Isaac.
Deas works primarily in oils painted on wooden panels, employing a combination of 19th-century techniques of grisaille and imprimatura, over which are added layers of semi-opaque paint and transparent glazes.
Deas has earned five Gold Medals and two Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators. In 2004 he received the Hamilton King Award, given for single best illustration of the year.