Somewhere between impressionism and abstraction, Stephanie Wheeler’s paintings shine through to reflect the masters who came before her (Manet, Degas and Bonnard) and emanate a style that’s uniquely her own.
“Painting is such a pure form of creativity… and to work with color is what I really love doing. My work has become more abstract, more about manipulating the paint and surface, but it’s always about the color… I can push color, but it’s not jarring to the eye. There’s a softness to it,” she says.
Preparing for her 11th year at Round Top, Stephanie was the first visual artist to appear at the Antiques Fair, attending a decade ago on the insistence of a friend. Stephanie says it was “unconventional” back then for a painter to show artwork at an antiques show.
“At the time, you could find everything under the sun there except for art.”
Now her works are available exclusively at Market Hill.
A professional painter since 2002, Stephanie never imagined a full-time career in it. She studied art in college, but it wasn’t her major. Her father, also a talented painter, discouraged her from earning an art degree but did encourage her to study with greats.
She immersed herself in the teachings of Russian figure painter, Marc Chatov. Much of her work today has been influenced by Chatov. She has also studied with some of the best contemporary artists in the country: Andy Braitman, Linda Christensen, Ted Goerschner, Jenny Nelson, all of whom, she says, have played key roles in her exploration of the landscape, figure and abstract space. Stephanie’s work has been displayed throughout the U.S., Canada, British Virgin Islands and Europe, but she still finds something special about Round Top.
“Round Top is like no other show. This tiny town brings people in from all over. Its growth and longevity over the years is a testament to the diverse vendors. The excitement each season is contagious.”
“Market Hill has been a great new location for me. I never dreamed that a venue like this could exist in Round Top, but Paul Michael did! And thank goodness for that! My customers enjoy all of the creature comforts our venue has to offer.”
As for what inspires her year after year, Stephanie says, “Finding inspiration is an easy one for me. Sometimes I wonder if there will be enough time to paint everything I want to paint! Nature and a beautiful walk can really jazz me up, which means travel is a big part of my process. Visiting new countries, taking in the scenery, absorbing the culture has a huge impact on what I paint and the color palettes I explore. These visits can spark a new direction along with a desire to experiment with new materials and subject matter.”
For the upcoming show, she shares her inspiration for several new pieces.
“I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa this past fall. During the three-week trip, I traveled all around this beautiful country from Cape Town to Blyde River Canyon and then several days on safari in Krueger National Park – a complete bucket list experience! The awe-inspiring landscape, natural beauty and wildlife made a definite impact on my creative mind,” she says.
“Inspired by my visit to the Zeitz Museum in Cape Town, I have explored a new direction of abstract mixed media work using unusual materials and techniques. A massive departure from my more traditional pieces while still maintaining my selective use of color, these new pieces have an organic quality that I hope the viewer will find intriguing.”
For customers looking for her more recognizable pieces, she is bringing her Colorado Aspens.
To view more of Stephanie’s work, visit Stephaniewheelergallery.com.