I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. With an artistic outlook, always influenced by what I see.

I recall being strongly fascinated by the comics in the newspapers, and comic books, animated cartoons and movies. I would copy the cartoons in the paper to learn how to draw them. I was lucky to have an excellent art teacher in grade school. Later, he became my high school art teacher, and pushed me further than I felt comfortable. He had me doing cubist charcoal drawings in my last year.

Following high school, I attended California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) now California College of the Arts (CCA) Oakland and San Francisco, California, earning a BFA degree in painting. While there I also developed a love of gardening, as I was a gardener for the school. I developed that interest so much, that I became a gardener, then a landscape contractor and designer and finally, a landscape architect. I also got married and had two sons. Needless to say, this took me away from painting for a few years.

Now I’m busy painting again. I call my paintings ‘Reality-Based Paintings’ because they derive from the photos I take of events around me. I’ve been strongly influenced by Italian renaissance paintings, especially Caravaggio. Other influences have been Rembrandt, Vermeer, Renoir, Lucian Freud, Robert Bechtle, David Hockney, Ansel Adams and Jackson Pollock. I use the renaissance techniques to create my paintings by first using the photo’s composition, then painting it as a monochrome, finally adding color and refining it. I especially favor painting on different colored grounds (the surface painted on) such as black, burnt umber and my favorite, red. I build up color by using glazes - transparent layers of color. This technique allows the light to pass through the color, bounce off the ground, and pass through the color again to the viewer’s eye. This creates a more luminous, deep color than would be achieved by just mixing a color and painting it on.

My paintings have evolved from a careful realism to more of an abstract form. I have no pre-conceived notions of what I want, but enjoy a process of discovery to achieve my goal – a work of art that engages the eye as well as the mind.

I live in Sonoma County, California, USA, north of San Francisco; a major wine region of California.

To contact me, email me at  stevefrenchla@comcast.net