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Penguins - SOLD

Penguins - SOLD

By Steven Hubbard


Original artwork

Oil on board


Image size: H: 25 cm x W: 21 cm

Framed size: H: 30cm x W: 26cm


Vintage Penguin Classics are still, to many collectors,  a cherished addition to the bookshelf and things of beauty. They covered everything from traditional children's stories and poetry collections to biographies and crime and mystery novels.


Steven's painting is a study in colour and design which he then turned into one of his marvellous lino prints, which we have also shown here at the gallery. 


The colour-coded books are loosely stacked and set against a muted gemoteric wallpaper background of the same era. The temptation for any book lover is to try to decipher which titles are in the stack and tick off how many of them you have read.


    Steven is a highly accomplished and inventive painter, though it is rare to see his paintings exhibited in recent years - and we're privileged to have these small studio pieces on show and sale this year.


    With his typical candour, here's his own account of how the small painted works materialise and why: "The small paintings are done for various reasons: for the pleasure of painting; to keep me occupied when printing editions and waiting for colours to dry; occasionally as a trial for a print I am considering, or as an extra work after I have done the print.


    "Sometimes paintings are merely a challenge or experiment to occupy and stimulate me between prints. I choose objects purely for their visual interest. Some I have had a long while, others I buy specifically for a project.  Most paintings are of things I already have.


    "I cannot understand why some objects feel right for imagery and others do not. I have for some years thought an alarm clock could work as an image but, despite a number of attempts, I have not been able to get the right balance in the trials I have made and the idea is no nearer being used. I have no specific era that I lean towards, nor do I choose objects from any specific time, I just like subjects that feel as though they have had a life. I imagine they must reflect me in some way."


    Widening our perspective, Steven's career has encompassed a variety of disciplines. Initially, he created watercolour still lives, before developing a successful portrait career.


    He was born in London in 1954, growing up in the capital, and has been painting and printing since he was a child, winning a Puffin Club prize for a lino print book cover design. In 1989 he was shortlisted as 'best painter under 35' by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He studied at Gloucestershire College of Art and Design and has taught Fine Art for over 30 years. 


    After being shortlisted for the National Portrait Gallery BP Award, and gaining an award from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters' annual exhibition, he completed many commissions, including a series of portraits for the eminent writer, NPG trustee and Cambridge don, Sir John Plumb (1911 - 2001). 


    With some of his portraits he began to create tabernacle frames, influenced by his love of 15th and 16th century Italian art, and these craft-based elements soon developed into a more personal and idiosyncratic aspect of his work. These new works - combining painting, carving, gilding and construction - led to Steven becoming a gallery artist at the Francis Kyle Gallery in Mayfair until its closure in 2014, with pieces going into private collections across the UK and Europe. 


    Always fascinated by technique, a long-standing interest in the ubiquitous prints of the Grosvenor School of printmakers, from the London of the 1930s, saw Steven begin to experiment with what has become his main focus of attention - the exciting possibilities of lino printing. Using multiple blocks, thin Japanese papers, extended inks and the flexibility of hand printing, these inventive lino prints use simple means to produce complex and varied surfaces and textures where, within an almost-uniform (or variable) edition, each print has very slight variations and subtleties which makes it unique. 


    His prints have been exhibited by the Royal Academy of Arts, the Society of Wood Engravers and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. His work is often used for illustrations and greetings cards and is held in public and private collections in both Europe and America. Public collections include The Royal Holloway, The National Extension College and The Museum in the Park, Stroud. 

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