All At Sea - The Caribbean's Waterfront Magazine
Nancy Terrell -- April 2006 Issue
Stephanie Clayton - Subtle Seas of Beauty on Canvas
I would describe Stephanie Clayton’s art as “enticing” – the more you look and study the shapes & colors layered in oil on her canvases, the more you see. Many don’t understand abstract art - they have never been trained to “see”; but anyone who has spent time doing deliveries and hours watching the same sea and sky, as the light changes on the horizon, can understand what Stephanie accomplishes – her art draws you in – you react to the beauty, of color and form, that is subtly created on her canvases. She takes you into another, more personal, world – a world of sensuality and feeling. With all of this said, it is easy to see why this talented artist is a top seller in the BVI. One of my friends told me that buying her canvases was more than just adding beauty & meditation to his home. “I also consider it a great investment as her works continually climb in price.”
It is truly difficult to paint abstractly – especially seascapes, horizons and nature. Abstract representations are arrived at, by the artist, only after years of painting realism. It is a step up, so to speak, and no one represents this study and practice more proficiently than Stephanie. Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Stephanie began drawing as soon as she could hold a crayon. After earning an art degree from Newcomb College of Tulane University in New Orleans, she opened a studio in Louisiana where she painted and taught art.
Since 1998 she has been residing in the BVI where she has continued her work as an artist when not teaching art at Cedar School in Tortola. There is no question that the beauty of the Caribbean and of the BVI in particular, has had an undeniable influence on her work.
She uses abstracted color, space, shape and texture to imply stillness yet movement, tension yet calmness in a play of opposites that form as a peaceful whole. Strips of color will mimic the horizon that she sees out of her studio, looking over the Sir Francis Drake Channel. She tells me, “I am surrounded by a glistening turquoise sea, which appears lit from within. Living on a small island, I am constantly aware of its presence. It is an ever-changing and moving body, transforming everything it touches. My purpose in painting is to communicate this sense of wonder and mystery, which is not revealed in a single glance. I notice color everywhere--even in the shadows and the darkest night. I use my heightened sense of color to experiment freely with paint. Many of my paintings contain a window or door, a metaphor for looking beyond the obvious.”
“Each painting undergoes many transformations before I am satisfied. I apply layers of vibrant washes, drips, and veils of translucent pigment & impasto effects for luminosity and depth. Often, I scrape or wipe away areas to reveal the color underneath. To really see with the soul, one must peel back the layers. The ocean's effect of washing away and softening boundaries is mirrored in my technique and imagery. In each of my paintings the process holds as much meaning for me as the end result. It is truly gratifying when others see and understand this. I like for my canvases to speak their own silent language – to appeal to the viewer in an intimate and personal way.” It is this subtle beauty that has made her art in such demand and it was a joy for me to see through her eyes.
Stephanie’s husband, Jonathon, has been an avid racer since moving to the BVI. He is the captain of Virginia B, a gorgeous customized Gulf Star ‘65 and a true supporter of his wife’s vast talent. For more information please visit - http://www.artfusiongallery.com/artists/works/stephanie.htm