"I want to approach each painting in a fresh way. Some paintings ask to be painted in a loose manner with lots of expression and freedom, while others need to be controlled to allow the subtleties of color temps or facial expression to show through. When an artist becomes a slave to their technique and limits what they can paint, is when their evolution as an artist ends." ---Steve Atkinson Steve Atkinson I started oil painting in 2002, however, I was an illustrator for more years than I care to remember. I loved illustrating, and it paid the bills, but painting feeds my soul. We should all be blessed enough to have a job like painting. My training as an illustrator has given me a solid foundation for my art. The ingredients that make a successful painting are the same ingredients that go into making a good illustration. Painting has opened up a whole new world to me. Now I'm able to make pictures of the things that matter to me. I'm not interested in painting the trendy or the shocking, it's purely about what moves me as an artist and a human being. Hopefully, it's the same thing that moves all of us. I'm as comfortable painting the figure as the landscape. It's all about the story and emotion behind the painting. The way I handle the paint, my technique, is as important to me as what I paint. To me, good painting has always been as much about how the artist handles the paint, as it is about the painting's message. Hopefully, when you look at one of my paintings you can tell I had a good time painting it.
I was raised in a small steel town in Eastern Ohio, and now live just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota. Family and friends have been behind me from the start. My wife Ann, continues to be my biggest supporter, best critic, and constant source of inspiration. I find endless variety in the landscape, and feel most alive when painting on location (en plein air) in the midst of getting down a fleeting light effect before it changes. When painting, there is no other concern that seeps into my consciousness. It requires complete focus. Painting is hard, very hard, but there's nothing else in the world I would rather do. Nothing. My years of experience have been enhanced through workshops by some of today's best artists such as Scott Christensen, Joe Paquet and Marc Hanson, as well as by the work and examples of countless other painters both past and present.
In 2007, I won the Jones Purchase Award at the Bosque Conservatory in Clifton, Texas, for my painting, "The Promise of Another Summer" . In that same show my painting titled, "Come Back to Bed" , took Second Place in the Oil painting category. I also won First Place for my drawing titled "Mending" in the Pastel/Color Pencil division. The Awards Juror for this show was noted painter George Hallmark. In the 2006 Oil Painters of America National Show in Missoula Montana, I received an Award of Excellence for my painting, The Gunsmith . The Awards Juror for this show was OPA master signature member Peter Adams. Throughout the years I've participated in many juried exhibitions and have won Awards of Excellence for my fine art as well as illustration. My work has been collected and exhibited throughout the United States. I'm a Signature member of the Oil Painters of America (OPA), as well as a proud member of the "Plein Air Painters of the West" (PAPW) and the Outdoor Painters of Minnesota.