Steph Smith is a contemporary artist based at Wimbledon Art Studios with a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and a Diploma in Fine and Applied Art Ceramics from City Lit in London. She began focusing on painting as part of her creative practice after attending the Slade Summer School and various short courses at Central St Martins.
Steph’s childhood in the North of England, with its dramatic landscapes and expansive waterways, inspires many of her paintings. She is a keen observer of her everyday surroundings, noticing the extraordinary in the mundane, such as a set of fairy lights festooning a tree in a city park, a balloon caught in the branches or a plant with surprisingly coloured leaves.
Steph also seeks to capture the magic in the ephemeral and celebrate the mysteries of the natural world constantly in flux – blossom or snow floating on the air, curious weather conditions, the ethereal light cast by streetlights or by the moon on the water’s surface, that fleeting moment just before nightfall when the light transforms the landscape with a strange otherworldliness.
Steph chooses to work from photos, drawings and memory, rather than en plein air, which allows each painting to emerge as an emotional response to the landscape, rather than a visual representation of it. Her training as a ceramicist strongly influences her process; her experience of working with glazes and layering translucency enables her to exploit the translucent qualities of oil paint. Steph applies the paint in a variety of consistencies, from thin washes to thicker impasto, scraping away and reapplying until a certain mood develops.
Steph’s paintings and ceramics are featured in solo and group exhibitions around the UK including, most recently, the group show The Space Between at the Graham Hunter Gallery in London in 2022 and the solo show Reflections at Chelsea Waterside ArtSpace in 2021. Steph’s work has been selected twice for the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, most recently in 2021. Her work can be found in many private collections in the UK and overseas. Gala Fine Art showed her paintings at Battersea Affordable Art Fair in October 2022.