"Red garden", Eldorado Canyon, Eldorado Springs, Colorado
Stephen Smalzel Artwork measures 33.5 inches by 27 inches. Frame measures 33 inches by 38.5 inches. Artist's Statement...... I was born in 1964 and raised on the coast south of Boston. I studied physics at Cornell and the University of Colorado, turning to art as a full time pursuit after a short career researching superconductivity. Primarily I just wanted to be outside looking at nature and trying to uncover the mechanics of beauty. That is the essence of my art and th pursuit that continues to this day -- a study of beauty in the natural world. At times nature presents a scene that is beautiful in itself and needs no interpretation or explanation, such as a majestic mountainscape or a field of bright wildflowers. These scenes seem to resonate universally in the human experience. At other times the elements of our visual perception such as color mixing, the interplay of light and shadow, compositional rhythm and graphic balance create and abstract beauty or intrigue that is hard to define. Both of these elements of beauty inspire me. Always there is a mix of the lyrical and the abstract in my art and it is my job to find the correct balance between the two. And then the painting must be executed with a style (the actual layering and brushwork technique) that compliments the balance between subjective and abstract beauty and creates a harmonious and satisfying whole. I am a self taught artist and am constantly experimenting with new media and techniques. That being said, I most often use oil paints for their handling characteristics and versatility. I spend half the year painting in the western U.S., primarily Colorado, and the winter months traveling and painting someplace warm. Traveling outside of the U.S. for long periods of time is both inspirational and freeing. I tend towards the tropics not because I like to paint palm trees, but because the arm water feels good on my feet. My main pursuits beyond painting are music and running. I was a successful mountain runner in my day, having won the Pikes Peak Marathon three times, and often use long runs to scout out new painting vistas. I play banjo, guitar and harmonica for fun, and enjoy the immediacy of music compared to the interpretive nature of visual art. When I become frustrated painting, there is nothing like banging out an old jog on the banjo to set my head straight. Beyond my basic artist goal -- the expression of natural beauty -- there is the simple goal of enjoying the process itself. for me the act of creating and reflecting on the natural world, actually sitting for days on end in the fields and forests is in itself a worthwhile pursuit. If the pleasure is in the journey as much as the destination, you will have a good time no matter where you go. I have had numerous solo and group shows throughout the west, but primarily Boulder, Aspen, and Salida, Colorado.