September ArtHop Featured Artist: Stephen Woolery

  

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Growing up in Colorado, Stephen developed an enduring fascination with the incredible scenic beauty and the dramatic skies of the Rocky Mountains. His step mother's father was a Russian immigrant who, as a successful, self-taught plein aire oil painter inspired him at a very early age imbuing Stephen with the desire to render beautiful scenes just like his grandfather did so magically and convincingly.

His other boyhood dream was to become a Navy fighter pilot - a dream that was to come true. He very often carried a camera with him while flying just to take photos of the dramatic skyscapes so often encountered at sea with the hope that he might one day paint those skyscapes. Those photos are long gone, but the memories of those experiences remain a source of inspiration and motivation for him to this day.

While deployed at sea, Stephen was urged by his peers to do a painting of his commanding officer's aircraft in flight as a going away present. A photograph of that painting eventually found its way to the desk of Robert G. Smith who was a renowned Naval Aviation artist as well as the Director of the Art Department at Douglas Aircraft Corporation. "R. G.", as he was known, was favorably impressed enough by the photo that Stephen was invited to visit Douglas Aircraft for 10 days upon his return from the cruise as a guest of "R. G's" art department.

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During his visit, "R. G." strongly encouraged Stephen to attend art school after completing his obligation to the Navy. That encouragement and experience with R. G. Smith provided him with the initial inspiration and encouragement to become a serious painter one day.

However, the demands of a career, a young family and other responsibilities of everyday life kept him from seriously pursuing his interest in art until 2006 when, with the support and encouragement of those closest to him, he made a commitment to pursue his dream of painting seriously.

As a self-taught artist working primarily in the medium of soft pastel, Stephen now dedicates himself primarily to painting the incredible beauty of California from the coast to the Sierras - and always with a

special fondness for seascapes and dramatic skies.

See Stephen's work through September at Ethan Allen Design Center, 307 Park Marina Circle, Redding.  Meet Stephen at a reception for the artist, Sat., Sept. 11 from 6 to 9 PM, during 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Click here for ArtHop maps and information.

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