Full of humour and light, Stephen Roby's debut collection of original figurative and portrait paintings is perfect for anyone wanting to add a touch of nostalgia to their living space. From family scenes to sport and evenings in the pub, this relatable series is inspired by memories of his childhood in northern England.
Behind every artwork is a story, and Stephen Roby’s debut collection is a definite page-turner. His own tale began with a working-class childhood in 1970s Liverpool, where money was scarce, but memories could be made for free. Peppered with touching anecdotes, this humorous series of original works takes viewers inside the local pub, into the boxing ring and through a narrative that weaves real life with the imaginary.
Completely self-taught, the former IT engineer works mainly in oils for his figurative and portrait paintings. Cubist elements include geometric shapes, bold statement colours and a simplicity of facial structure that makes every character – from a space-hopping policeman to a sausage dog surrounded by his favourite toys – instantly relatable. No matter our age or background, we can recognise ourselves and become a part of the story.
Situational humour and heartwarming moments of human interaction are shaped by the intersectional lines, which draw the viewer’s eyes around the piece. Stephen derives his full palette from just five colours; inspired by Impressionist painters like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Joaquín Sorolla, Pierre Adolphe Valette and L.S. Lowry, he mixes colours to create the illusion of light and shadow. Further inspirations include the American realist painter Edward Hopper and the Old Masters of the Renaissance, such as Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
An avid people-watcher, Stephen draws upon real-life memories and experiences – including his friends and family, and time spent living in France and Switzerland. Each painting takes up to two months to complete, and is part of an intimate emotional connection between the artist and his creation. Whether his paintings make you laugh, smile or roll your eyes in recognition, they will ultimately make you feel and remember life beyond the canvas.
Stephen invited us to his studio in Cheshire to reveal how he creates his vibrant artworks using just five shades of oil paint and an understanding of 2D and 3D perspectives.
“It’s just simple geometric shapes, bright colours, some slight gradients and intersecting lines,” he told us. “My engineering background has given me an eye for looking at certain things in a different way. A lot of the paintings are two-dimensional, so I try to make them more 3D by creating gradations around the edges and adding highlights."
Like the early Renaissance painters, Stephen allows the dark background to show through on the shadowed areas to add depth. He adds: “I block-paint everything in, and then add the outline later. It gives a brilliant effect. I learned to use just five paints and create every spectrum of colour that you can get with only these. From the dark ground to the medium-coloured layers and the tints at the top, it’s the same paints."
Stephen's intersecting lines also allow viewers to explore the narrative of the artwork. He explains: "Composition-wise, I’ve read tonnes of books on the rule of thirds, and the positioning of irregular shapes to create hidden indicators and draw the eye to certain positions. Now I know that just by the contrast and colour of the diagonal lines, you can draw attention to a focal point in the painting."
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We're delighted to unveil a spectacular series of original works by the British painter Stephen Roby, who has has now joined our international family of contemporary artists.
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