“Art, love and passion are very closely related. Because they all hinge more or less on realisation of beauty in some form or other, or in its pleasure-
An English artist, Steve Bonner is well known in the UK for his watercolour landscapes, his oil paintings of marine, figure and portrait subjects, and as a muralist and Trompe L'oeil artist. Steve was born in Huntingdonshire, England in 1951. Drawing and painting since he was able to hold a brush or crayon, it's surprising Steve didn't yearn for a formal art school education, choosing instead to become a display artist for a major department store chain, now the Harrods group.
Window dressing however, wasn't for him but it did lead to exploring the many associated trades and skills, from screen-
As the years went by, the industry was constantly becoming increasingly computerised and rather than abandon his paint brushes, it became clear that, little by little, life was pushing towards one vocation.
Steve had flirted with fine art in his late twenties when a tour of Europe eventually led to Paris. With inspiration on every boulevard painting was inevitable and the work started to flow and almost as importantly, to sell. It would be interesting to speculate why he turned away from art back then. “I'm ashamed to say I wasn't prepared to go without,” he says, “Establishing oneself as a professional artist, rather than just a hobbyist, is hard graft, it's a struggle – I was young, single and, frankly, I had other things on my mind. The frightening thing about life is that if you don't do what you know you should – it'll find a way to make you!”
So by the late-
Whilst Steve's work adorns the walls of many beautiful homes all over the world he cheerfully admits, that to the best of his knowledge, it has never been purchased as an investment by a pension fund or insurance company. "I can't think of a worse fate for any serious painter" he's on record as saying, "I paint my work to be seen, to be enjoyed, to brighten up some-
He is often referred to as a realist. “It might look that way at first glance” he says, “but in fact I'm more of an impressionist. Obviously not in the accepted sense, my style is vastly different, but certainly in as much as I seek to convey the impression not the reality. Take for example a piece of work in this show in Barbados, 'Chalky Mount'. It looks, I hope you'll agree, exactly like Chalky Mount. When I started to paint it it I sat at the easel, surrounded by my photographic reference, drew it out, checked it, and thought to my self “It doesn't look like that – no way!” The problem is that the camera doesn't lie and the photographs I was working from show it exactly as it is -
When you actually stand at the foot of that huge great rock your senses are aware of much more than the reality. Your senses register awe, majesty, magnificence – all of which are lost in the photograph – my job is to put that back, so my painting isn't as it actually is – it's as you see it. Bonners re-
Asked if he regrets being self taught and missing out on an art school education he explains that he considered applying in his mid-