THE DAILY NEWSPAPER
WORLD VIRTUAL MUSEUM | STEVE HENDERSON
Steve worked as a commercial illustrator for 20 years, doing everything from cartoons to medical illustration. He lives in rural Southeast Washington in the United States. His studio is in a barn, and outside the barn are the family goats that he milks each morning.
Steve has worked in art-related fields all his adult life. Steve paints primarily in oil and watercolor in a wide variety of subjects (ocean, country landscapes, Southwest canyons and deserts, wilderness forests, children, women). Many of his figurative works feature a lone woman in a beautiful outdoor setting, reflecting Steve’s belief in the power of human thought and independence.
“I paint what gives me an emotional reaction and that I believe can be similarly interpreted by a potential buyer.”
“My subject matter ranges from figurative to still life to landscape. I paint that which means something to me:
“Children: because we have children and grandchildren, and they can teach us so much – remind us to look at the world with fresh eyes.
“The ocean: because I lived by the ocean as a child; because we took our kids to the Oregon Coast every year;
because I continue to find the ocean as a central place for clear thoughts and meditation.
“The Southwest Canyons of the United States – so deep so profound, so ancient, yet so quiet and peaceful with so much color.
“Local landscapes of Eastern Washington – because that’s where I live and find much beauty in its patters of rolling patchwork fields cut through by country roads lined with cottonwoods and wild fruit trees.
“The female figure: aside from the long tradition in art of rendering the female figure, I find grace, form, pleasing lines with the strength of spirit and determination that only the one who holds life within the womb and gives birth to the next generation can understand.”
“The world needs art. Sounds trite, but I believe it deeply. It has always been so, but especially today with our corporate, cubicle world and its emphasis on cold scientific facts we need something more than ever before that speaks of beauty and something deeper than cold facts. We need something that speaks to the soul, the heart, the inner workings of our being.”
“I paint ‘representational’ – the world around us we see every day, but it takes oftentimes an artist to help us ‘really see’ it. “
“Yes, the viewer can identify what I paint –‘That is a tree. That is Santa Claus. That is the Grand Canyon’ – but each ‘real’ thing is interpreted by the artist to convey its deeper levels behind the lighting, the shadows, the turn of a face, the brush strokes that make up the form. The canvas is a stage upon which the artist presents the character actor – color, texture, form, design, value, etc. I choose to stage beauty, reminiscence, nostalgia, feelings of serenity, peace, tranquility – those emotions.”
“The artist is not just a camera – a dumb lens that simply reproduces and image – but an intelligent interpreter of the visible world – the workings behind the curtain.”
“We know the piano player requires years of intense practice.
His performance is proof of his obvious skill – or lack of it. But when it comes to the two and three dimensional arts, we glibly refer to anything as ‘art’ and anyone as an ‘artist.’ I believe an artist should learn, train, and study as seriously as nay orchestral musician.”
Steve has a B.A. in Fine Art from a university, but his real learning began years later, when he built up a library of hundreds of books and titles that dealt with artists and their work.
“Over the years, I analyzed thousands of paintings and many techniques and styles, and I realized how little I was taught in the university.
All this abundance of information, insight, and knowledge had probably been on the very shelves of the university library. My ‘education’ has never ceased since. I am always looking, seeing, experimenting.”
“To be fair to my university days, my mind was no doubt closed and as narrow as my world view then. I wasn’t taught much, but neither was I open to and aware of the tools at my disposal – like the library.”
“There is no one definite level an artist reaches where they can point and say, ‘There it is. I’ve reached it. Hallelujah! I’m done.’ There is always another way to view something as one grows in knowledge and experience.”