“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 probably best known for his vibrant seascapes, in particular his watercolours and oil paintings of the Caribbean islands, especially Barbados, that he knows and loves so well.
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-
From the artistic point of view those years were far from wasted. His graphic background, although not as easily discernable as it once was, is still present in his most recent work, and his unashamed hedonism still shines through delightfully in his unique and highly individual style.
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 will 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. "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 and not the reality. For example: have you ever taken a photograph of a mountain, and then been disappointed with the result? It all seems smaller than you remember, or the light and colour isn’t as vibrant.
Your senses register beauty, awe, majesty, magnificence – all of which, if not actually lost in a photograph, are certainly diminished – my job, the job of the painter, is to put that back. So my painting isn't as it actually is – it's more as you see it. To some extent or other I do this with all my work – beaches, mountains, portraits; especially portraits – I believe it is an error many portrait painters make. They simply paint what the subject looks like – not who they are! ”
Asked if he regrets being self taught and missing out on an art school education he explains that he considered applying in his mid-