Steven Klein is inspired by nature. “I like to watch the changing clouds and colors at sunrise and sunset so that I can incorporate that into my paintings instead of just a plain blue sky,” he says. Klein began work on this week’s cover, “Autumn Colors,” at the suggestion of a collector at Trapani Art & Frame. With locations Manhasset and Garden City, Trapani has been representing Klein’s work on Long Island for many years.
What was your inspiration for this piece?
I started this piece last autumn after getting inspired by hiking around ponds near my home on the South Shore and driving around Long Island—especially around the farmland areas out East. I observed the colorful trees and reflections on the water. I remembered the times spent with my wife and family in New Hampshire, Vermont, and the times exploring upstate New York and the rest of New England.
What draws you to these pastoral scenes?
I’m drawn to these types of scenes because many of them are disappearing with the conversion of space to malls, housing and shopping areas. Thankfully, some land on the North and South Forks will remain as farmland, wineries, or unused open space.
On your website you note that you create what you call magic perspective. Could you expand on that?
Magic perspective is the term I developed to explain the way I elongate the composition vertically, adding more space to include additional elements in the design. It’s like viewing the scene from all directions simultaneously. This includes aerial perspective by having objects get smaller and less distinct as they recede into the distance. I like to paint on canvas, Masonite board, wood and glass. They each offer their own texture to the images. My preferences are acrylics and oil paint using bright colors and occasional texture gels.
Who are some other contemporary or historical artists working in this style?
I have always admired the art of Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton and they have been influential in my development as an artist. Basically, I like to develop and rely on my own style and ideas for painting.
As a successful artist, do you have any advice for an aspiring artist?
Being successful can mean different things. For me, I feel successful when I put an image on canvas in a way that I have imagined it, or that I can create something positive from nothing and it is not a finished image unless it initiates an emotional response from the viewer.
As for advice, it’s sometimes difficult to make a living as a fine artist. That said, I have always felt the need to paint and to create and that’s my life mission. It’s what makes me happy and satisfied. I don’t feel like I could have done anything else as I have always felt driven to produce artwork. Try to be the best at what you do, accept criticism and advice, and be committed to hard work.
It’s helpful to create something unique or develop a different approach. I think it’s important to accept commissions, and do research on ideas that I have not done before. Over the years I have also painted horses, dogs, cats, dinosaurs, baseball scenes, mermaids, beach scenes, and many more subjects. I have dabbled in abstract art, portraits, and more realistic scenes, but I prefer to work in my present Americana style as it is more imaginative, colorful, and allows me to be whimsical.
See more of Klein’s work at stevenkleinart.com.