Stephen Stevenson at artavita by stephen stevenson

I am an artist. I am a painter. I paint people. In fact I paint only close-up, emotionally expressive, images of real and imaginary people in vivid colours. My paintings are not so much about what people are doing and why but what they are feeling and perhaps, why.

Superficially, I paint because I like to express. I came to painting after many years of dabbling in graphics, sculpture, pencil drawing and photography. Today I work exclusively in oil. I choose to paint portraits because I believe portraiture better achieves my objectives.

Intellectually, my motives for my expressive pursuit and my reasons for my choice of subject matter are more complex. If I could articulate my reasons for my choice of subject matter, eloquently and precisely, (assuming though not accepting even the possibility that it can be done at all) I should have chosen to be a writer and not a painter.

Never the less, I do believe it contrary to instinct to dismiss our feelings and emotions as mere irrational mutterings. I would even suggest that the more we are in touch with our emotions and feelings the more we will understand the universality of our nature . Is it possible that through that understanding our capacity to realise our potential for goodness and kindness increases ? Not an entirely original concept and obviously I hold no exclusivity in the endeavour of proving such a goal. Not only that but at very best I could only play a minor role in the pursuit of that endeavour. Even so, I do firmly believe that my work at least tries to assist in the achievement of this objective.

My portraits are images of people in penetrating close-up. Capturing not so much individualism but in the end the generalities of types: images of sadness, of privation, togetherness, separateness, of perplexity, of happiness. They are not so much uplifting as enquiring and of examination; almost forcing the viewer to contemplate our similarities and universal qualities: to walk away from them deep in thought.

Many people have attested to the provocative nature of my work. I have found at the many exhibitions I have participated in that those who “see” my images appreciate them almost passionately. It therefore seems wholly appropriate that I should try to reach a wider audience. Appreciation is one pillar of my motivation but the feeling I have of “ yet so much more to do” is enigmatically more compelling.

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