I spent the first 18 years of my life on the coast of West Sussex and Hampshire, and very early on I developed an abiding passion for Art and Nature.
Winter evenings were spent in my grandparent's room, copying my Uncle's drawings or sketching any item of interest. In the summertime I spent my days around the marshes or Chichester harbour or in the woodland on the South Downs studying, drawing and painting the landscape and its wildlife.
Upon leaving school I secured a place at the West Sussex College of Art in Worthing, studying commercial art and technical illustration. Whilst travelling to college each day by train I was fascinated by the prints of landscape paintings mounted below the luggage racks. From the comfort of the train seats I found myself drifting to places unknown to me—the hills of Cumbria, the lakes, coastal resorts and cathedrals all beautifully painted by prominent figurative artists.
Some self proclaimed art critic of today would decry Illustration or Illustrative Art as meaningless and not real Art—it's just as well that attitude did not exist when the Sistine Chapel ceiling was commissioned as an illustration of the Bible!
Upon leaving College I worked as a technical illustrator for many years, but at night I painted a variety of subjects—vintage racing cars, landscapes, seascapes and abstract painting.
I moved to Cornwall in 1972 and managed a variety of businesses and art became a spare time hobby. Exploring Cornwall from the rocky moors to towering cliffs, green shaded valleys and stormy seas, and the influence of the Cornish light with its ever changing moods came as a revelation to me. This small peninsular of land afloat on a mirror of sea reflecting the light, inspired my appetite to paint.
In 1990 after a health scare I, like many others before me suddenly arrived at one of life's crossroads, and so I took the decision to become a full-time artist. Within two years I had agreed to work with an agent whilst building a reputation as a Wildlife and Marine Artist.
For me Art, and in my case painting, is about communication—to present whatever I paint in such a way as to hold the viewer's attention, for them to see what I see in a new light and experience emotion whether positive or negative.
A great photographer friend of mine once said to me “The worst response I can have to my work is no response at all”.
Whilst continuing to paint wildlife in a figurative manner I have recently become absorbed with trying to portray the limitless variations of landscapes and seascapes in smaller impressionist paintings in acrylic and oil paint.
For me, all my art is based on drawing and from here I can progress, and express everything I want to communicate of my love of the natural world and all its wonders.
I want my art to be enjoyed, a window to a wonderful world, just as the painters who have influenced me have done—Monet, Landseer, Raymond Ching, Ken Howard, Peter Brown and many others.
Stephen's work has been exhibited in galleries across the Uk
- Cornish Art Prints - St Agnes, Cornwall
- Wildgoose Gallery - Fairburn, West Yorkshire
- Tallantyre Gallery - Morpeth, Northumberland
- Cookhouse Gallery - Ambleside, Cumbria
- Courtenay's Fine Art - Bournemouth, Hampshire
- Grimes House Antiques & Fine Art - Morten-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire
His work appears in collections across the World from a private collection of 75 of his works in Spain, to Australia, America, Canada and Alaska.