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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.

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