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Stephen Casting the Threads of Light

April 21, 2012

Today we have opened our sixth E-Exhibition this year – Threads of Light by Stephen Mitchell, a young English artist, who comes from Cornwall (to visit this E-Exhibition please click here). Stephen might be using very subtle tones, yet these, sometimes even bleak colours, create delicate figures, mysterious landscapes and complicated cityscapes. His artwork is very poetic, extracting the essence of every possible image – light (to visit his online shop please click here).

Here’s your chance to meet Stephen. We have asked him a few questions on favourite historic art movement, ultimate goals as an artist and the process of painting.

Stephen Mitchell

You come from Cornwall, which is said to be heaven for artists – stunning landscapes and that magic light (I certainly heard that about St.Ives!), yet your paintings depict far away countries and cityscapes. Can you please solve that mystery for us?

People are often surprised I don’t paint more local scenes. The coast of Cornwall is my favourite place, but I’ve never really had the urge to paint it. Maybe it’s because I’m so familiar with it, that I draw more artistic inspiration from places that are more of a mystery to me.

You represent the new generation of artists who have been influenced and inspired by new technologies, but you’ve gone down the old route – canvas, brushes and paint. Why not computer generated graphics, just like in Sim City?

I love the physical aspect of painting, getting to know the textures and properties of the materials I use. Also, the act of painting I find much more enjoyable, using broad sweeps of the brush or throwing liquid paint on is especially rewarding (when it works!). I use the computer a lot when deciding on a composition, its so easy to use photoshop to move a figure a little to the left or right to get the right balance in a design, but I’ve never been tempted to actually create artwork on screen.

Dubrovnik Rooftops (20x20 inches), Acrylic on Canvas

You’re a professional illustrator. I know that you’ve stepped away from this market to do something you enjoy even more, but I’m curious – what does it take to be good at illustrating?

I think you need to be very adaptable, styles are constantly going in and out of fashion so you have to move with the market. Deadlines can be tight, so being able to work fast under pressure is important. Some people thrive on this, and is when they’re at their most creative, but I’m more of a ponderous painter, who needs time to analyze what is and isn’t working.

What are your favourite contemporary artists? What historic art movement sends shivers down your spine?

There’s so many contemporary artists that have given me inspiration. Kurt Jackson’s mixed media landscapes, the 3D paintings/sculptures of Gerry Judah, Euan Uglow’s figurative paintings. Recently I discovered an artist called Nathan Ford who’s style I love. Of the historical art movements, the post impressionists struck a chord most, especially Walter Sickert and Degas. Seeing some of their paintings up close in the Musee d’Orsay was an unforgettable experience.

Please tell us more about your painting – have you got a studio? Do you wait for inspiration or is an everyday activity?

I have a smallish studio with a nice big window, plenty of natural light. I can just see the sea if I crane my neck. I paint on and off throughout the day and night. I’m not one of these painters that can get wrapped up for hours and hours painting, but I do work much better in the evening, when I seem to have more energy. Afternoons are when its hardest to pick up a paintbrush, and when I’m most likely to do something else. I nearly always listen to music or the radio when I work.

Ballerina on the Thames (40x20 inches), Acrylic on Card

You mostly paint in acrylics and create mixed media artwork, but is there anything esle you’d love to try and master – for e.g. watercolour, printmaking, collage etc.?

I love, but have never tried, sculpture. I’ve always been intrigued by things like weathered driftwood or rusting metals, objects that have been exposed to the elements. It would be great to create sculptures using these sort of found objects.

Lets dream – what would be your ultimate goal as an artist?

I’m not sure what my ultimate goal is. I don’t think I’d like to be a very famous artist, not while I’m living anyway! I suppose it would be nice to be well respected by other artists, a well kept secret. I’d just like to keep improving. I can see myself working on a bigger and bigger scale, I’d love to create huge and amazing paintings that take peoples breath away.

— — —

Thank you, Stephen. We are sure you will keep improving as an artist and hopefully will have a chance to try out sculpture and any other form of art that grabs your interest.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2012 9:39 am

    oooh nice to hear of other cornish artists! (im an artist living in cornwall too!)

  2. April 21, 2012 9:58 am

    Wonderful work. I love the cityscapes and landscapes the best. ‘Falmouth’ is one of my favourites.
    Thanks ladies for these exhibits.
    And thanks Stephen for creating some of the truest work I’ve seen in awhile. Sarah

    • Saaly Kelly permalink
      April 22, 2012 8:33 pm

      Truly beautiful…I love the ethereal feel to your work – it’s delicate, subtle, haunting. I wish I could command these qualities in my work 🙂
      Sally x
      P.S. I’ve just checked out your Etsy Shop and have added you to my circle!

      • April 23, 2012 1:35 pm

        thank you Sarah and Sally, so glad you like my work, and good to hear from a fellow etsy artist!

      • April 25, 2012 8:52 am

        Hi, Sally. It’s very nice to see you here again. Hope everything’s going well at your end? How’s the painting going? Will we see something new for the 2013 exhibition? 🙂

  3. Sally Kelly permalink
    April 22, 2012 8:34 pm

    OOPs! can’t believe I have just spelt my name wrong!

  4. April 23, 2012 10:12 pm

    That ballerina picture is fab! Not so much into dancers myself as I am skylines – London’s is especially beautiful – so I absolutely adore this! Great work 😉

    • April 27, 2012 10:09 am

      Thanks Houdini. I know what you mean about London, it has a rough beauty which makes for a great subject.

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