David Stephens: California Colorist
by Brian Langston
He had painted since childhood, experiencing early on the transcendence that can come from creation. Throughout his world travels he was drawn to museums and galleries. He knew he must pursue his dreams and manifest his gifts. So in 1989 David Stephens jettisoned a corporate career to make his living as an artist.
David's wife, Sylvia Savage, remembers back almost 20 years to his first gift, a watercolor painting of San Diego Harbor. During the years that followed, Sylvia fostered her husband's talent, assisting him at art class projects, during private studies, in preparation for juried art festivals and gallery showings. "Leap and the net will appear" was posted on the shower door. The net did appear in the form of a growing circle of galleries and collectors drawn to David's lyrical figures dancing within a universe of luminous colors, ethereal forms and multifaceted textures.
From this acclaim came the resolve and resources to found their own gallery, which David named for Sylvia who acts as gallery director. Since opening in Spring of 1996 the Carmel, California enterprise has blossomed - tripling in size -yet it maintains the original vision and values: to show and sell unique contemporary paintings and sculptures that blend the abstract and the figurative to express archetypal themes.
According to David: "First and foremost, I am a colorist. I am naturally inclined towards an exploratory, emotional, approach because, for me, color connotes a sense of spiritual energy and centeredness. Additionally, many of my images contain spatial elements and movement which lends a sense of expansion. Line, form, and texture also help shape my interpretive, light-filled paintings. "
David describes his creative process as "striving to unite apparent opposites, Classicism and Romanticism, realism and abstraction, even science and mysticism."
"While I believe that the creative process will one day be understood, I don't purport to understand my own. But I know that when I listen keenly to the voice of the process I can reach a state where duality yields to oneness and harmony emerges from randomness. My paintings sometimes make me recall the Hindu image of Shiv in the cosmic dance of creation - bringing forth all of that which is, and at the same moment veiling our perceptions with illusion.
From top to bottom: Daughters of the Mother Moon, 1998, 60 x 40 inches; Small Boned Connections, 1995, mixed media, 28 1/2 x 30 inches.
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