Steven spent three years at Brigham Young University, being accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in his first semester, an honor usually reserved for third year students. He has garnered many awards, including "Best of Show" at The 66th Annual April Salon, Utah's most prestigious art show.
In 1989, Steven discovered a kindred spirit in the work of Edward Willis Redfield, a deceased Bucks County PA. artist whose fearless approach to plein air and lively application of paint suited his personal temperament. Whistler and Rothko have also had an impact on Steven’s approach to the work. He especially views John Henry Twachtman's later work as a powerful, spiritual inspiration but his grandmother, who first introduced him to oil paint and the palette knife at the age of 11, is the person he credits with giving him the opportunity to learn and explore the craft he cherishes.
Many feel his work is tied closely with the Tonalist artists who worked at the turn of the last century. Their primary focus was the spiritual undertones of landscapes, the most notable artist of this movement being George Inness. In his studio paintings Steven is searching for the intangible feeling of timelessness that lies beneath the surface of what may seem commonplace. His plein air work (on site) is more akin to the impressionists who tried essentially to capture the atmosphere of a specific moment in time. Each technique enhances the other since different lessons are learned within each discipline.
Steven initially built, carved, and gilded many of his frames and is still "hands on" in overseeing this process and like Whistler considers the presentation of art an integral part of the whole, designing frame styles and finishes that he feels enhance the overall impact of each piece.
Steven's are introspective paintings, urging us to look deeper; not only for the subtleties in nature around us, but also at the complex world of emotion within each of us.
“In most lines of work we are asked to use our keen minds to find solutions to a myriad of problems. From plumbers to scientists, doctors to mechanics, it really comes down to how well we use our minds that distinguishes success. Because our society is thus driven it seems to make sense that this model would work for artists as well and it does if renumeration is the goal. I would posit that this system is actually a detriment to and the antithesis of great art. Knowing what we like when we ‘see it’ is the axiom for well thought out images that approximate high art but do not necessarily nourish the soul.
Paintings from the mind.
I believe the opposite is true for artists. Knowing what is true because we ‘feel it’ is the axiom of great art and it is our job to quiet the mind so as to allow access to the infinite. How else can we create something that will touch the viewer deeply?
Paintings from the heart.
In a way I feel I must always be striving for this higher ground so that when beauty (my truth) reveals itself, I am able to be the conduit that gets it to the canvas without my mind or ego getting in the way. Otherwise I am an artisan, crafting beautiful items for the home. As a fine artist, I believe it's my calling to create something more than a pretty picture for a wall, I am looking for the things that connect us, that connect us deeply with our true home.”