Steven Fleming is a runner and a cyclist, moving happily through the landscape in all seasons. A feeling of wanderlust is part of what keeps Steven moving, both physically and artistically. Maybe it's because he grew up in a Navy family that relocated every 18 months or so. Maybe it's because he has a zest for exploring new landscapes and new ways to make art. Maybe it's because he is "never content to rest in one place and repeat the formulas of the past."
After studying constitutional law in college, he headed in a different direction after graduation, eventually settling on a career as a lighting designer. At the same time that he put in his nine-to-five, he took watercolor classes from Skip Lawrence, Rex Brandt, and Millard Sheetz and art classes at the Maryland College of Art and Design. These classes inspired him to go home after work and paint for three hours every night. In between times he began reading about the lives of artists and how they went about being creative and found inspiration for their work. He learned how to be "loose" and how to "push it" to express himself through abstraction, realism, and impressionism, in several media (watercolor, acrylics and oils). Collecting and playing guitars feeds also feeds his creative soul.
Steven somehow knew from the moment he began to paint that he wanted to teach art someday. But first, he had to quit his lighting career, dive deep into painting and learn what he could about the lives of working artist's, and where the creative impulse comes from for each one. "I tell my students to also branch out and take different kinds of art classes, to read a lot of art books about artist's ways of thinking," he says, "but please skip reading the how-to brush recipe books, and learn by doing instead. There's a delicious banquet of art media ready to explore, so don't stick with one medium. Explore many of them. Why be satisfied with a daily toasted cheese sandwich diet when you could experience so much more?"
Since 1998 Steven has been on the faculty of the Art League School in Alexandria. He also teaches private painting classes in his studio and leads workshops, frequently overseas, taking students outdoors to experience landscapes first hand. He knows how to paint the wind, how to meld cattle into green meadows, and how to abstract from these landscapes so the primary sense of the place comes through via texture, color, light and line. "Working in plein aire is the best way to understand the land," he says, "even if the wind tips your easel over sometimes." Rosemary Luckett
Steven's abstracts and impressionist landscapes, "Surface and Light", are on exhibit at 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC from July 5-27, 2014. Gallery hours are 11-6 Wed-Thurs-Fri, and 12-5 Sat - Sun.
You are invited to enter into the landscapes he paints and to join him for the Encore Party Friday, July 25, 2014 6-8:30 pm.