Steven Skinner Watercolors

Artist Biography

I grew up in a small rural community in Northern Illinois. After military service, I graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I studied lithography, photomechanical lithography, oil painting, drawing, and sculpture.

My most current series of works on paper (watercolors) titled “The Little Things” began early in 2003. It is a contemporary series of paintings depicting objects that I select because of their shape, color, patina, and personal or social significance that I enhance through the process of painting. These watercolors have been described as humorous, unsettling, and engaging. They are minimalistic with no background, lending emphasis and focus to each rendered object. I render each object representationally in watercolor allowing them to transform as they must through the act of painting. Mindful of these transformations, I often subtly enhance individualistic qualities or characteristics imbuing the objects with subtle changes of character not inherent in the original object. I reference each object with a title and number. The titles often enhance or subtly and conceptually change the perceptions of the objects. Viewers must conceptualize each painting and title. Without reference or guidance “each” work is open to individual interpretation.

Early in my career I painted in oil and encaustic, but felt a desire to work in more challenging mediums and began experimenting with watercolors. Since 1988, I have worked almost exclusively in that medium, which I continually find rewarding and challenging. My first series in watercolor ran from 1989 to 1999 and featured paintings of Chicago’s viaducts, roadways, and bridge structures. A subsequent series again in watercolor ran from 1999 to 2002, combining interior structural architecture with tropical plants found in the Chicago botanical conservatories of Lincoln Park and Garfield Park.

While making art, I have worked as a museum preparator and exhibit project coordinator at The Field Museum of Chicago, The Shedd Aquarium, and The Chicago Children’s Museum. I have taught watercolor painting at Columbia College Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Water soluble printmaking and watercolor painting at Gallery 37 for Anchor Graphics and the Chicago Department of Cultural affairs. During the summer of 2006 I taught watercolor painting in Florence, Italy for Columbia College Chicago in conjunction with Santa Reparatta International School of Art. Recently, I moved to northwest Indiana and aught drawing at Indiana University at South Bend.

Recently, I changed my artistic focus and now work exclusively with clay making contemporary pottery. My pottery may be seen on my pottery web pages at: BlackTree Studio Pottery.

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