Ceredigion's Stephen Owen started painting pictures of cars whilst still at school
Back then he lived in Newtown, but he is settled now Talybont in Ceredigion now where he works as an accomplished master craftsman furniture-maker.
But it’s not for his furniture that Stephen appears in First Person, but for another artistic talent .
Stephen’s passion for classic cars and other heritage vehicles has encouraged him to return to his teenage passion of portraying the cars he loves in paint.
When lockdown brought an initial lull at the workbench, to keep his creative juices flowing, Stephen took to his paints and has developed a pop art style inspired by the Italian futurists of a century ago with their obsession for speed.
“The reception for these striking images has been so enthusiastic that Dogtooth Galleries of Chester have persuaded me to make some very special images to be sold through their gallery,” Stephen explained.
His latest painting however, entitled On a Roll, is not of a sports car speeding through the countryside, but a humble tractor.
With a tongue in cheek twist, the John Deere tractor is seen speeding out of Stephen’s field when time is of the essence during hay-making.
“After all, when the sun shines and it’s time to make hay, you need to get a move on and why shouldn’t the tractor receive some attention?” Stephen said.
“So often one sees paintings of old tractors rotting away in some romantic scene when, in fact, they are an important part of life; the unsung heroes in our food chain.”
When he’s not painting, Stephen works with wood. According to his website, [email protected], “he produces pieces of furniture to be used and enjoyed”.
“Behind every piece of his work lies a story. From inception to completion, a journey has taken place,” the website explains.
“A journey through thought and dreams to reality and practice, as concepts are born and worked out.”
Stephen appeared in the Cambrian News in 2019 when he won an award for his work. The award was for the creation of two pieces of church furniture - a prayer chapel communion table and lectern - made for Guildford Baptist Church in 2016. Both pieces of furniture were crafted from oak over a six-month period. The furniture was awarded the Art + Christianity Award for a permanent new commission, and was celebrated for its “spiritual metaphor in sculpture form”.
Stephen is open to commissions for his woodwork and painting, and is especially keen to portray a cherished vehicle in a special place that holds significance for the owner.
“Sometimes this entails going to that special location with the vehicle and photographing it in situ before the planning, sketching and painting begins,” Stephen said.
“Each painting takes a few months to complete. Now’s the time to plan ahead for Christmas for that special gift for the person in your life who has everything,” Stephen joked.
Stephen uses gouache paint on canvas, and frames are usually four feet by three feet.
“I believe bold images need to be seen on a large scale,” said Stephen.