Stephen was born in Weston-super-Mare but travelled around with his family when he was young as his father was in the RAF. Their return to Weston allowed him to study at the college including an A-level in Art (mainly painting and drawing), but then factory work followed for fourteen years. During this time, he took evening courses in subjects like physics and psychology before going on to study full time for a BSc in Pathology Microbiology at Bristol University; and after that an MSc in Medical Microbiology at UWE. Currently working as a teaching technician at Bristol University and helping out when he can in the research labs. Images from the microscopic and atomic level inspire his art as much as the macroscopic world.
He walks and cycles a lot; favourite places include the Mendips, Glastonbury and the Quantocks - always taking his camera with him to capture reference images for his paintings. He doesn't go looking for anything in particular and never copies or replicates anything, preferring to take ideas from what he sees and imbue a mood, feeling or mystery into his work. Aspects of mushrooms, lichen, bits of a wall for instance could inform his work; but through ambiguity, enlargement or incorporation rather than directly. He finds the properties of watercolours can be analogous to the properties seen in nature. His knowledge of the history of a place; what went on there; even the mood/weather of the day he visits can come into it as well. He often has more than one painting on the go at a time - one might not be working so he'll move to another one and come back to it later. He never throws any of his paintings away, sometimes cutting out areas that he's happy with from those that are not entirely successful. He learns from reading about other artists and tries out techniques they have used. The choice of paper is really important for his watercolours - he is currently using Hot Press which he finds really tricky but is persevering with it.