Hats Off to Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Steven J. Levin

November 19, 2021 Dan's Papers cover art (detail) by Steven J. Levin
November 19, 2021 Dan's Papers cover art (detail) by Steven Levin

Minnesota native Steven J. Levin was trained in the ways of the Boston School Impressionists at Atelier LeSueur, and with a strong foundation in this time-honored tradition he has developed a realistic style uniquely his own. His works have been exhibited across the United States and Europe, and he is represented by several galleries including Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor. Here, he discusses this week’s cover art, how he developed his style and more.

Steven J. Levin
Steven J. Levin

What inspired this week’s cover art, “Houndstooth Hat?”

I’ve done a whole series of Hats paintings, going back many years. This houndstooth hat is the most interesting looking one I have and by far the most challenging to paint. Most of my other paintings depict quite a number of hats grouped together in creative ways. With this painting I just wanted to highlight this one hat with an arrangement that would showcase it’s graphic quality.

How was this piece created? Walk us through your process.

I set up the hats in my studio under natural light, playing around with the design until I was satisfied with the arrangement.  I then painted them from life directly onto the final canvas. The background sky was invented with the aid of a few photos for inspiration.

What makes this artwork such an ideal fit for a Dan’s Papers cover?

The aforementioned graphic quality of this design make it a great fit for this venue, plus it’s just an eye catching image I think.

Steven J. Levin's "National Gallery of London" (34 x 46, oil on canvas, 2017)
Steven J. Levin’s “National Gallery of London” (34 x 46, oil on canvas, 2017)

How would you describe your art style, and how did you develop it?

I describe myself as a realist, or sometimes a classical realist. My style evolved over many years of working. I began painting with a more impressionist palette but then gradually changed over to a darker, tonal style as my tastes and inspiration changed.

What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?

Some years ago I was commissioned to paint the portraits of Lord and Lady Brockett on the Isle of Man. I stayed with them in their home for 6 weeks to complete the paintings. He was a delightful person as was his wife and I enjoyed the experience tremendously.

What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?

There’s nothing like taking the kernel of an idea in your mind and nurturing it through the whole creative process to the finished work. When the finished product matches very nearly your initial vision of it, that is quite satisfying.

Steven J. Levin's "Hat and Bird’s Nest" (14 x 26, oil on canvas, 2014)
Steven J. Levin’s “Hat and Bird’s Nest” (14 x 26, oil on canvas, 2014)

Where can your work be seen in the coming weeks, both online and up close?

My work is featured at Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor, I’m also at Cavalier Gallery in New York, and Tree’s Place Gallery in Orleans on Cape Cod. You can see my work @steven.jlevin on Instagram and on my website.

Would you like to share any closing thoughts?

Yes, one of the great things about being an artist is that you have an artistic response to almost everything you see, and a good deal of what you think. I’d need about seven lifetimes to paint all the things I want to paint. Sometimes the challenge is in the choosing. And whatever you do choose, the nature of art is that it speaks on a different level than words, so people naturally have different responses to a work. It’s often very gratifying to hear what others see in my paintings or what thoughts or memories they brings to mind.

To learn more about Steven J. Levin and see more of his works, visit stevenjlevin.com.

November 19, 2021 Dan's Papers cover art by Steven Levin
November 19, 2021 Dan’s Papers cover art by Steven Levin

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