Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chris Stephens


How many years ago was it that I first saw the paintings of clouds that stopped me in my tracks? It was in a gallery in Sperryville, Virginia. Ann Georgia brought me there to see some local art; in particular some handmade books. The books were nice but ordinary, however the cloud paintings, well I wanted to live with them. As time went by and I returned to Virginia I met the artist Chris Stephens. We got to know each other a bit doing some art together and sitting on the porch at Ann’s place, Revival Springs Retreat for Creative Action. This year before I went to Hampton to teach I was staying with Ann and we drove over to Chris’s to visit his studio. I expected to see several paintings but I had no idea what a treat I was in for. There were lots and lots of them, all different sizes, and I got to look at as many as I could take in. Which is a bunch. I wasn’t conscious that I was going to buy a painting that day. What happened for me was as I looked, really looked, I began to sense very quickly a yes or a no. Yes or no to what? Something special occurred that I think is probably rare when a potential buyer is with the artist; Chris and Ann and I talked about why I was setting a painting aside and choosing to see another. What was it that I was looking for? It really wasn’t so much what I was looking for as what I was looking at. My body, my energy was responding in various ways to each piece. My mind only got to say, you are moving into a very small house, does the house have the distance you will need to view this painting and feel the impact of it. Okay, and at decision time when I got down to five paintings that I wanted my mind said I could have only two. Other than that I followed the feeling and I have to say that now that they are at home with me I am thrilled with their company! They are alive and they enliven and inspire me. Oh, and they make me smile. Partly because they are so vibrant and partly because I let myself have something I really really wanted.

Chris Stephens lives in Front Royal, Virginia and paints just about every day. What about you? Do you do what you love just about every day? http://christopherstephens.us


Ann Georgia McCaffray lives in Sperryville, Virginia at Revival Springs Retreat for Creative Action where she creates and holds community, takes in strays, makes wonderful art, hangs art exhibits for various groups, works with Nature, finds beauty in and nurtures all forms of life and most importantly, holds down the porch!

2 comments:

Moyra Scott said...

wow those paintings are really amazing. I have been in some sort of black and blue phase for a while. And just since.... since lately....it is as if I am rediscovering colour! I love it! And these are lovely paintings.

Tom said...

Chris is my cousin, and I have nine of his paintings in my home. I think he is one of the best there is. You should see two I have, entitled "Stable Studies". They are identical except for the light--one was painted in broad daylight, and one at either dawn or dusk. They way he framed and matted them emphasizes this contrast even more. They are beautiful.