Stephen always loved to draw, sketching and doodling from a very young age. He first put this to serious use whilst studying for a geography degree at Plymouth Polytechnic in the 1980s, when he found his talent for sketching a very useful addition to his studies.
It was a few years later, back home in Surrey, that he started producing ink drawings of people’s houses and other local buildings as gifts for family and friends. He soon found himself being asked to produce commissions and being paid to do so.
For many years, he captured his hometown of Godalming and its environs and built up a good local following. His subject range expanded from mostly buildings into landscapes, portraits, sailing boats, steam trains, animals and cartoons. At the same time, interest in Stephen’s work also grew, his works can be found as far afield as California in the US and St. Petersburg in Russia.
Stephen has exhibited widely, not just in Godalming and Guildford, but further afield in the South-East of England, including the Showcase Gallery, the Manning Exhibition Gallery and the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery in The Cut, London.
He was for many years a full exhibiting member of the Guildford Art Society and did a lot of art tuition, both privately and for Surrey Adult Education services. He also ran Big Draw sessions for Godalming Museum and the National Trust at Uppark.
He produced commissions for local bodies, such as illustrating the Guildford Cathedral Cookbook, producing logos for charities and businesses and Christmas cards for the Mayor of Godalming and other local organisations and businesses.
He took part in many local art competitions and events and was especially proud to be chosen as Godalming’s Millennium Artist and to be asked to produce Christmas card designs for Godalming’s twin town of Mayen in Germany, in 2012.
One of his lifelong interests and favourite subjects for painting was steam trains and this led him to help a number of mainline locomotive societies by the presentation of paintings for sale.
One of his most recent exhibitions was “A Postcard from Godalming” in which he produced modern views of scenes depicted in old postcards, the collecting of which was another favourite hobby.
At the time of the first COVID lockdown in 2020, he was working on versions of this set along the Wey Navigation and on the Isle of Wight. During the lockdowns, he produced a large number of detailed ink and watercolour sketches of flowers and wildlife from photographs taken by himself and friends, as well as taking part in online life drawing sessions.
Apart from the art, Stephen was a well-known local character, a familiar face around Godalming, especially in all the local pubs.
As well as a beer drinker, he was a Morris dancer, walker, art teacher, historian, barman, rail enthusiast, school caretaker, allotment keeper and trolley boy for Sainsburys.
As a keen amateur historian, he had an extensive knowledge of the local area and for many years helped to organise Heritage Open Days in Godalming and led history walks around the town.
He was also known for his style, rarely being seen in public without a hat and in summer, a colourful tropical shirt.
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