Stephen’s paintings are part of a genre that has been seminal throughout art history, including ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics of lotus flowers and Vincent van Gogh’s sunflower paintings. For his self-described “contemporary take on a classical subject”, he experiments with a range of styles and compositions. From smaller square paintings to large-scale panoramic works, his art is an exhilarating tour of the botanical wonders of nature.
Roses, poppies, daisies, hibiscuses and sunflowers are all depicted in a spectrum of different colours, including bold primary tones and delicate pastel shades. Often chosen by collectors for a wedding or anniversary gift, his romantic scenes feature bouquets, along with earthy landscapes and intricate details of petals.
Speaking on his new Opus collection, he says: "I wanted to provoke a sense of hope and give it an all-round uplifting feeling by using bursts of colour and texture. We’re all living through testing times, and I want to spread some positivity. I hope to make people smile when they see the collection, it’s meant to be happy – everyone deserves to be happy."
Artistic inspirations include the French modernist painter Édouard Manet and the pioneering American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Stephen is also fascinated by how the English Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner managed to create the illusion of light. Drawn to the landscapes and coastlines of northeast England, he can be moved to create a new painting by the embers of a fire or a storm at sea.
Stephen says: “I want people to smile when they see the work. I want them to be happy. I want to evoke an emotional response, like when you receive flowers in real life. Everyone can relate to floral paintings on some level.