Steven Lush, AWS, TWSA, ASMA

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You wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t interested in my art work. Or perhaps you are really just trying to discover what makes this guy tick and to try and figure out exactly, ”How does he operate?” All valid questions for those that are arrested by art images plastered on various social media platforms, hung on gallery walls, art association walls, corporate spaces, restaurants, billboards and bar rooms! Just what the Devil are all these artists doing? Do they have homes, take vacations, pay college tuitions and the IRS. Are they happily married, like Trump or Hilary, are they fun to hang with, do they play golf, do they like sports, etc., etc. Believe it or not most of us are just like you or the guy sitting next to you reading the paper on the subway. So what makes us unique and have the drive (or the nerve) to create art work? This I can only answer in all honesty, for myself.

As I have said here in previous blogs (if you have read and remembered them) the sea and being in, on and around ships and boats got into my blood at an early age. I am always revisiting scenes that were seared into my memory years ago while at sea or in some far away port. I can remember seeing improbable red seas and green skies, large ships surfing down the face of even larger waves, dolphins swimming backwards with their noses almost touching our bow as we pressed through the Straits of Gibraltar at 17 knots heading back to New York City. I remember walking under my ship in a Philadelphia dry dock, my eyes fixed on a propeller at least 25’ in diameter. All these things eventually come out somewhere in a painting.

For the “nuts and bolts” part of painting, I may produce a working sketch if I need to work out some detail but for the most part I sketch out, in pencil, what I want to paint directly on the watercolor paper, mistakes and all, or with a piece of soft charcoal on a canvas and correct as I move into paint. I welcome mistakes and adjust and I don’t get too hung up on technicalities. With WC I either capitalize on the mistakes or chuck the paper out (or flip it over!). On canvas I keep working it, sometimes scrubbing out the whole lot and starting over again….but with all that “history” underneath as my artist wife, Nella, states!

I work in this way because when the image has worked itself out from my memory files and I have had time to paint and re-paint the subject in my mind, I no longer have the patience to proceed with careful deliberation as do some artists but rather, I can’t wait to get the image out of my system! Sometimes these works are successful but just as often, not. I use the ”nots”,  the rejects,  as it were, as fodder for the next work. Truthfully, I don’t do this because I need to, I do it because I am compelled to do so….and if you like the results, well, that’s even better!

Sure I have reference material. What artist doesn’t? Do I like to paint plein air? Sometimes to be sociable but getting to and from a location, setting up and breaking down and just the painting itself takes precious time that I would rather invest in my studio, my work space. I love doing this job! It is almost as enjoyable as being a seaman, a job that I truly loved years ago. I, too, am fortunate to be affiliated with galleries that allow me to do what I like and represent that work. This doesn’t happen too often.

So this is me. Is it what you figured? Does it really matter? Who cares?

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