It may surprise readers to learn that this week’s atmospheric cover was done by iconic radio host Howard Stern. A longtime Hamptonite, Stern talks about his artistic process, how he got into painting and his love of the East End.
What materials were used to create this painting?
This is a watercolor painting done on Arches cold-pressed paper. I used a limited palette. This is a sepia painting and is mostly a mixture of burnt sienna and Payne’s grey…Winsor & Newton paint. I can go on and on…Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes. I do a full graphite drawing first and then put watercolor over it.
Your painting is wonderful. What were you thinking, or trying to convey, with this scene?
Thank you. I love the ocean, and I went on an early morning walk in Southampton with the idea of taking pictures for possible paintings. When I saw the bowl of light on the beach and the long, dark shadows cast from the broken wooden fence, I knew I found something special. Something peaceful and calming. I wanted to share the view with everyone. Painting the beach really allows you to see things in a whole new way—I will never look at footsteps in sand the exact same way. Drawing and painting those impressions in the sand was something I had never done before.
Did you study painting before you embarked on your present career? If so, did you ever consider early on making a career out of painting?
No, I started painting six years ago. I was inspired when I saw the published journals of Guillermo del Toro and thought it was cool the way he treated each page as art. His written words and little paintings looked perfect on the page. I wanted to do that. I wanted to journal and draw. I began looking for teachers to help me learn this new language. I started with many wonderful local artists out here—Linda Capello, Molly Dougenis, Aniik Libby and made a few visits to the Art Barge to speak with Chris Kohan. Eventually, as I continued my studies and got more serious about it, I studied with the master watercolor painter Frederick Brosen and threw myself into the process. Rick’s work is remarkable, and I liked his philosophy when he explained that he never wanted me to paint like him but would give me the tools to create my own work.
What was your first encounter with the Hamptons, and why did you decide to make a permanent home here?
I grew up in Roosevelt, Long Island but was unaware of the Hamptons. I only became aware of it when I was on the radio in N.Y. and heard people talking about how wonderful it was. A friend invited me to use his home out here and my girlfriend (now wife), Beth, and I visited and were blown away. How did I not know about this place? It is so beautiful, peaceful and perhaps heaven on earth. I now spend so much of my time painting the Hamptons. I have several more sepias of beach scenes and I just finished a painting of Deerfield Road. I’ve painted so many different views of the Corwith Barns that I’ve lost count. Glad I got that done because sadly the barns are now gone.
What are your favorite things to do for fun here?
Just walk the beach, go to dinner. Always loved the Jean Georges restaurant at Topping Rose before COVID hit. I love when my kids are out here. We have some wonderful friends close by and love to have people over for dinner. It’s a place to relax. My wife and I also love the wildlife out here and spend a lot of our time with animal rescue. I wish more people would donate to [Evelyn Alexander] Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays. Ginnie and her crew are tireless, and they need money. Without the wildlife, the Hamptons will become just another suburb.
What are your plans for the future?
I will continue to paint, just for the joy of it. Maybe if I put together a big collection of Hamptons paintings I’ll be bold enough to have a show but right now I’m honored to be on the cover of Dan’s Papers. I love how you present local artists, and I’ve seen some incredible work on your front page. I’m excited to be among them.