Stephen Whittle Etchings

About the artist

Stephen whittle001

Stephen Whittle lived to create and share beauty. From his earliest years he was moved to conceive and communicate the grace he saw in the world through art.

Born in Leeds, England in 1953, he blossomed creatively at an early age under the tutelage of his artist mother, Christine, first exhibiting his work in school at age 11. At 17 he left school to study etching at the Chelsea School of Art, then to Brighton College of Art where he took an Honors Degree in Fine Art in 1975. Stephen spent the next four years in Switzerland and England working as an artist, teacher and graphic designer.

In 1979 Stephen came back full time to the complex medium that he would make his own. He was drawn to express his vision through two venerable English artistic traditions: the “English Landscape” and the craft of etching. Largely self-taught, Stephen established his etching studio in Lancashire in 1980, with the help of his father, Donald, who bought his first etching press. He was drawn to the harmony and balance of the natural world, and this was (and would remain) the subject of much of his etching work. He received encouragement from Robin Tanner, the distinguished English etcher who in his turn worked in the pastoral tradition of the great Samuel Palmer.

In 1981, Stephen had his first exhibition in London at the Drian Galleries and was commissioned by Christies Contemporary Art to do a series of etchings with pastoral themes. His work quickly gained a following, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s Stephen worked with major art publishers and exhibited in art shows in London, Tokyo, New York, Paris and Frankfurt. He has had one-man or group shows in a total of fourteen countries and is held in both corporate and private collections worldwide.

In 1992 Stephen moved with his family to the United States, first to Fairfield, Iowa and in 1997 to Sonoma County in California. Taking inspiration from his new environment, Stephen expanded his subjects to include vineyard, ocean and domestic settings as well as the English countryside. In his last years he began to expand his medium into painting and mixed media and his subject matter took on a more visionary tone. To see his giclées, visit our sister site at: www.whittlestudio.com. Stephen passed away from a swimming accident in Lake Tahoe when he was on holiday with his family in July of 2000.

Stephen Whittle took the traditional art of etching and fashioned it into something both fresh and familiar. Each creation is an intricate, intimate world of beauty that beckons us to enter and rest for a timeless moment of tranquility. Stephen’s deep sense of spirituality was expressed through his desire to create beauty and harmony and share it with others.

His own words speak most clearly of his vision and aim:

“The transcendent, spiritual dimension of ‘vision’ allows me to interpret what I see on a feeling level. Many of my pieces begin as simple rhythmic shapes, moving to achieve a kind of fluid harmony. Then I begin to bend the natural world around this design. Color plays a crucial part, as if adding music to a world that was so far silent. Altogether I seek to create both a feast for the senses and an image that will resonate somewhere deep within the soul.”