Stephen Stauffer

The famous religious painter Carl Bloch was said to have dipped his paintbrush in his heart. As an artist, I relate to that statement because painting for me is a way to turn myself inside out and share what is there on canvas. Sometimes I see things that are so painfully beautiful that I can find no adequate words to describe them. My art has become a spiritual language where I can express myself without speaking. And hopefully those who view my paintings will feel what I am trying to say with no words passing between us. I have found that it is through visual imagery that I can best reveal my passions.

As an artist I am more interested in painting my emotional reaction to a subject than in creating a photorealistic rendering of it; consequently my paintings lean more to impressionism than realism. I tend to work in an abbreviated style where the suggestion is more important than the completed statement, and where the parts or details are sacrificed for the good of the whole. I’ve learned that the less I give away in my paintings, the more people seem to read in them.  To me, there is more poetry in an image when not every detail is spelled out and the viewer is allowed to solve some of the mystery.

I love to capture the abstract patterns of light and shadow in the subject as, paradoxically, I find this creates a more realistic image when viewed from a short distance. I generally paint things that I am close to, both in distance and in feeling. I am not about depicting vast expanses of nature, but rather of close, intimate corners of personal spaces. Any subject is game for my brush as long as it is beautifully lit. In truth, light is always the subject I find most exciting, as anything it touches is enhanced in depth, dimension, vibrance, and beauty. This is the spiritual implication art has for me.

I consider it the greatest of privileges to be an artist–to notice the grandeur in small things around me, to celebrate them on paper or canvas, and to share my passion for life though my artwork. 

My love for painting En Plein Air took me out of the studio and into the surroundings we enjoy in our beautiful country. Painting the Alpine splendor of our mountains and streams, or the unique beauty of the Red Rock of Zion, I am always moved each time I’m allowed to venture into it’s wonder and magical vista’s and capture these images. I have studied with Jeff Hein, Rob Adamson, and Bryce Billings. Their unique take on drafting, drawing and Plein Air landscapes, has taken me and my work to new levels afield.

Drawing from life whether it’s the figure or landscape, as an artists we will never stop learning. Jeff, Rob and Bryce are masters at their crafts and I am so incredibly blessed to have been associated with them and allowed to be a part of each of their lives.
I am currently a member of Plein Air Painters of Utah. This allows me to paint with people with the same amount of passion and love of this beautiful country we live in. We are out in a different location each month, so I will look forward to seeing you along the trail, and would hope you will stop and have a chat!

View the finished piece:

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