My "formal" art education happened at San Francisco Art Institute (BFA) and Sacramento State University (MA). The streets of San Francisco paid my tuition. I was one of that city's first licensed street artists (I've got stories).
The out-of-doors was much more attractive to me than the school studios, so I skipped many of my classes in favor of working directly from nature. For many years the textures and patterns of the northern California landscape were the foundation of my painting vocabulary.
1978: I moved to West Michigan where I taught art for six years in local colleges (can anyone really teach art?) before settling into my full-time vocation as a painter.
My early inspiration came from 19th century European artists, including painters from the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. In my figurative interiors from the 90's one can easily see my love for the French "intimist" painter, Pierre Bonnard.
Much of my work remains semi-abstract, but I am often lured away from my studio by the desire to paint directly from nature, a call I have answered since I was 15. A local glossy once wrote that I am “rejoicing in the rightness of created things.” However, I am not your conventional theist. I am in awe of the universe, especially as it is manifest in nature, so I might best be described as a Pantheist.
- Stephen Duren