What is your main focus as an artist? Do you generally stick to one thing or do you branch out to other mediums?
My focus is landscape paintings, most recently of the Catskill Mountains. I paint landscapes in oil or acrylic, on canvas or paper, and draw with charcoal and graphite usually on toned paper. I have studied a variety of mediums, but I find those currently to be the most successful for both studies and studio work.
I find that the Catskill’s combination of extreme atmospheric conditions and dramatic topography make it an intriguing locale. Also its historical significance in connection to the early American Hudson River Painters, which I am influenced and inspired by.
I know that some artists like to paint on location, and some like to photograph what they want to paint and do it somewhere more comfortable. Are you the guy with the easel, or the camera?
I never paint from photographs, I do on site studies or works in acrylic, oil, and/or graphite. When I’m in the studio, I create more elaborate works from those done on site and from memory. Easels are cumbersome, I generally paint on my lap on site.
How is working in the studio different from working on site?
Studio work can be difficult at times, it depends on if I’ve prepared enough studies to create the work on the easel. The process on site is generally faster and more fluid and representational. In the studio I can be slower, and rather meticulous. If it’s a conceptual composition the lack or surplus of studies makes no difference. Inspiration is definitely found more on site, perched on the edge of a cliff with the sun in my face.
What is the most beautiful landscape you’ve ever seen or painted?
That’s easy. The most miraculous view I’ve witnessed is the view from North Point overlooking North South Lake, it is beyond sublime. The views from the eastern side of the town of Hunter looking west are some of the most spectacular I’ve ever painted, time and time again, and are the majority of my exhibit.
Where did you grow up? Did that influence you as an artist?
I grew up in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and attended college at The New Hampshire Institute of Art. The environment there is beautiful, and majestic, but the majority of my influence in landscapes has been derived from my time spent in Hunter.
Do you listen to music while painting, or watch TV?
I do occasionally listen to music when painting, I enjoy everything from jazz to metal. Some people find it hard to believe that I do very calm, focused, and detailed works, while listening to intense, spastic, and fast paced metal music. I don’t own a tv.
What was your first experience in Hunter?
My first experience in Hunter was when I lived here during the month of July in 2010 when I was accepted and partook in the Hudson River Fellowship. I created an outstanding amount of work in that month and realized after returning to New Hampshire that I had to go back. I moved back here in November 2014 and have been creating prolific amounts of work since.
Visit the Kaaterskill Fine Arts & Crafts Gallery to find out more about Steve’s upcoming exhibit!