Steven was born in San Diego in 1971, and grew up in the small town atmosphere of Novato, California. School was not easy for Steven. In fact, he says, “I was a kid who struggled. I tried, but it was very difficult.” Steven suffers from dyslexia and thus his parents encouraged him in the arts—painting and music. At the age of 13, his parents enrolled him in an oil painting class. It was mostly attended by older women artists. “It was a fun dynamic with the old ladies,” he laughs. “The teacher made an exception, and let me into the adult only class.”He studied there for five years, learning the techniques of a traditional style. On graduating high school, he admits, “I didn’t have a direction.” He enrolled at Santa Barbara College where he had just enough money for two years of study, taking courses in art. Later he transferred to Azusa Pacific University near Pasadena where he was interested in music, drama, and art. He was in the university choir and also played the guitar and wrote music. He graduated with a B.A. in Fine Art. “It was like my life was filled with a miscellany of hobbies.” Even though painting was not a priority to him at university, he learned through his studies to connect the emotion that he was seeking to portray in his paintings with technique—to communicate a depth of feeling that is evidenced in his work today. Before graduating, he was honored by being asked to paint a 30-foot mural for the university’s Marshburn Memorial Library solarium.
Eventually, he decided to pursue a career as an artist although he still loves to write music and sing. Describing himself as very much self-taught, Steven focuses on painting scenes, whether they be of a European city, Mediterranean seascape, or California landscape that capture feelings of romance and emotion. His inspiration comes from the joy of life. “I have always enjoyed being a romantic,” he says. Painters that have moved him are Tom Swimm for his use of colors; Rembrandt for his application of light on dark; Charles W. Mundy for the sense of movement in his impressionist plein air works, “mixing on the canvas which is fun and exciting.” He admires the work of Howard Behrens, fellow palette knife artist; and James Coleman for the romance he infuses into his paintings.
The scenes he paints are painted Plein Air or recreated from his photographs and sketches, inspired from his travels to Europe as well as England with Natalie. He has now widened his horizons with works set in Hawaii and tropical regions
Family life is important to Steven. He and Natalie have four children; their home is in North Tustin, CA, not far from the Pacific Ocean where Steven loves to surf. Known for his prolificacy, Steven completes as many as 120 paintings a year. As he works he listens to music, maybe the classics, Bach or Schubert are his favorites, or the romance of such as Andrea Bocelli. “I do tend to be a melancholy type of personality, so there is a little bit of mystery to my paintings. Yet, I want to convey a happy feeling—joy and hope. There is a lot of negativity in the world and, as an artist; I believe we have a duty to bring hope into people’s lives.” Religion is important to Steven. “We go to church every Sunday, and I try to start each day with a prayer, giving thanks for what God has given me and the joys I experience every day. I am thankful to live where I am, free to do what I love. As much as I enjoy visiting other places, I love coming home.”