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New Affiliate Member

Steph Trethowan New Affiliate Member

Mon, 26/02/2024 - 14:33

Meet Steph Trethowan – New Affiliate Member  


I’m a contemporary artist based near Burton on Trent in Staffordshire UK. I produce and sell original artworks, limited edition prints and greeting cards. I promote and sell my work via social media, my website and through exhibitions. To date I have exhibited my work largely in the Midlands; I have had a number of solo shows as well as participating in group exhibitions. Over the last eighteen months my work has been exhibited twice at the RBSA in Birmingham. Last summer I was also selected as a finalist for the Broadway Arts Festival. 

I started painting when my children were young and for a significant number of  years had a ‘three artworks a year practice’ i.e. when time permitted! As my two boys grew up, I was able to paint more; my art shifted from impressionist style paintings to more expressive works. Just prior to the pandemic I was able to leave my job as a therapist in the NHS and devote more time to my art career. The pandemic of course delayed my ability to ‘get my art out there’, but since 2022 I have exhibited my works at the Landmark Arts Fair, Derbyshire Open Arts, the Brewhouse, the RBSA and at the Broadway Arts Festival. I paint in oil, and I am drawn to using expressive colour to convey my relationship to my subject. My current practice is largely influenced by post impressionism, in particular fauvism and expressionism and by artists such as Cezanne, Matisse and Vlaminck. I rarely use conventional perspective in my work and enjoy exploring the boundaries between figurative work and abstraction. Most recently I have been studying various interpretations of cubism and in particular the work of Andre L’Hote to inform my work. 

I had a gamekeeper grandfather who instilled in me a deep love of the natural world (I was brought up with ferrets and mole traps in the back shed) and I love to paint the hills, trees and landscapes of Derbyshire and Staffordshire and sometimes my native West Sussex. At the same time my work as a therapist, my knowledge of psychology and just being human drives a slightly different genre of work that attempts to depict human struggle, conflict and angst; I like to think of my cityscapes as symbolizing people – they are rarely upright. 

I have a degree in Psychology from Aston University, so I am largely a self-taught artist, during the pandemic I undertook a Diploma in Oil Painting with the Norfolk Painting School. Without doubt the course lead, Martin Kinnear, has been a significant influence on my work and my ability to free myself up from constraints, artistic and psychological. His vibrantly coloured depiction of rural and urban life in the North are a constant source of inspiration. 

By becoming an Affiliate Member of Banks Mill, I hope that I will be able to develop local connections with other creative people and that I will learn things that will help me get my art out there! I’m also hoping that I will be able to use the exhibition opportunities at Banks Mill to promote and sell my work and that I will be able to link with other artists and creatives to learn about and improve my artistic practice and find out about study opportunities that might take my work to the next level. 

I am currently working on a trilogy of paintings about my experience of the Peak District, reflecting my love of the natural world. I intend to exhibit these pieces with Derbyshire Open Arts. I paint in oils and love colour. As indicated above I love expressing the joy I take in the natural world in my work. I rely largely on brush and scrapers to produce my artworks. Initially I tend to sketch in situ or from photos I have taken (when it’s too cold to sketch). In the studio I often simplify and abstract aspects of the scene I plan to paint prior to sketching, usually in thin paint, on my surface. I firstly paint an underpainting in vibrant colour, then build up thicker layers of paint in key areas. I use scrapers to introduce serendipity.  My paintings, from start to finish, from sketch to final painting takes a number of days; I tend to use some wet over dry technique and my work benefits I believe from my inspection over time.   

In the next 12 months I will be exhibiting with Derbyshire Open Arts in May 2024 and now having joined Banks Mill, I plan to exhibit at their Open Studios event in November. I’m hoping to participate at Wirksworth and Melboune Festivals if accepted. I also need to create a new body of work, having sold a lot of pieces recently. I want to try to get my art out there more; I’m not clear about my path to this yet but it could possibly mean expanding my social media activity, exhibiting more, and creating a range of limited-edition prints.  

You can follow Stephs progress and see more of her work via her website https://stephtrethowan.uk  and Instagram account @stephtrethart 

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