The Wapping Group of Artists - Est 1939
Steven Alexander

Steven Alexander

Steven was born in Thanet in 1951 and comes from a family of painters, and learnt avidly from his father, Christopher, who was a consummate master of figurative drawing and painting.

Since the early 1980s Steven has been a regular and prolific plein-air painter of landscapes and townscapes in watercolour and, mostly, in oils.

He was proud to be elected a full member of the Wapping Group of Artists in 2006 and has been its secretary and its archivist.

He has exhibited three times at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (in the 1980s), and at open exhibitions of the RSMA, the NEAC, the RBA, and the RWS. He also exhibits every summer at Henley Regatta.

His aim is to respond to and capture (as far as is feasible) the complex play of light and shadow over a chosen scene and, since he grew up by the sea, he has a deep affinity with water and its visual effects and challenges.

He confesses to a fascination with things ramshackle and dilapidated, and is inspired by wet mud, dry leaves, snow, fog, motifs dominated by unusual lines of perspective, rapidly-changing skies, sunsets and elaborate architecture.

He also has a degree in Spanish and French and a doctorate in Spanish and has travelled widely in Europe, painting in Italy, France and Spain, especially Andalusia, where he finds the stark light a powerful magnet.

He often sketches in pen, felt tip or conté chalk, and sometimes uses these drawings as a basis for oil paintings; above all, however, he prefers to complete his paintings on site, and usually works on Daler boards that range from 6 x 8 inches to 10 x 15 inches.

He invariably re-primes these boards with pink, orange or yellow ochre acrylic paint as this helps him to read the tones more effectively (without the distraction of the harsh white background) and it allows him to use the coloured background to generate satisfying tensions associated with optical opposites.

Occasionally he likes to take on the challenge of painting up-lit architectural subjects after dark.

When painting or drawing he is lost to the world for the two or three hours it takes him to make a picture, and he produces well over a hundred of these each year.

His artistic heroes include Boudin, Daubigny, Theodore Rousseau, Corot, Shishkin, Sisley, Sorolla, Marquet, Ziem, Díaz de la Peña and Singer Sargent, but the list of influences on his work would be a very long one.

He has recently moved back to Thanet (Ramsgate), and has already found a wealth of inspiring subject matter.