Born in Akron, Ohio, M.C. Poulsen was one of eight children. Now known as a painter of portraits and Western genre, he works in the Old Master classical realist tradition, following the words of Vincent van Gogh: “Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck; it’s what you were put on the earth to do with such passion and intensity that it becomes spiritual in your nature or your calling.”
When Poulsen was thirteen, his family moved to Wyoming to work a 15,000-acre cattle ranch. This setting developed a love for the Western scenes he now paints. Later serving in the Marines, Poulsen spent eighteen months in Hawaii and then enrolled in art study at Arizona State University at Tempe. However, he quit formal education because he thought he could learn more on his own and from his neighbor, noted cowboy artist James Bama.
Early in his painting career, Poulsen did landscapes, still lifes, and figurative scenes, but then became so impressed and inspired by Western paintings he saw by Charles Russell that he now focuses on Western works. He has had a successful career, doing about twenty paintings a year, many of them with thirty or more thin layers of paint.
Poulsen has done commissions for private, state and federal organizations, including the Pentagon and Johns Hopkins Hospital. He participates annually in shows and exhibitions across the country, including those held by the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California, the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana; the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Poulsen and his wife Shauna live in Cody, Wyoming, on property next to the dude ranch he worked as a teenager.