The Current of Peace

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Giverny Bliss, 11×14 oil on linen, Stebner

I remember thirty-some years ago, flying to Europe at the dismay of many, when airplane high-jacking was just beginning. Less than a year ago, Jim and I were on a train to Paris from Provence the day Charlie Hebdo and his team of artist/journalists were murdered on the job in that city of art and culture. We walked the streets unknowingly that night, enjoying a wonderfully romantic dinner not all that far from the scene of the crime. It was later that night, tucked in our hotel room near the Gare de Lyon, that I read many of your concerns for us on Facebook. Now, once again, terrorism has tried to darken the City of Light. But its inhabitants seem to refuse to buckle. Nor would I.

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Autumn Bliss, 11×14 oil on linen, Stebner

It’s public knowledge that I’ve been fighting a personal terrorist called cancer for over two years. I’ve refused to cave in to its assault on my happiness and creativity. Facing that assailant within has only strengthened my resolve to drain the last drop of life out of every day. This autumn it’s been a season to paint my childhood stomping grounds on the Cuyahoga River as well as French memories. Our move put teaching in France on the back burner this September.

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Everett Bridge, 12×16 oil on linen, Stebner

In a little over a week, I’ll host my thirty-sixth holiday open house and sale. In an effort to add at least a drop to aid world peace, I’ll be donating 10% of all sales through December 19th to the Gandhi Institute. So, should a Stebner painting call your name as a gift to yourself or a loved one, you’ll be doing your part, too. Thanks.

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Returning to Childhood, Cuyahoga River  8×12 oil on panel, Stebner

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The bulk of artist’s life is, in most ways, like anyone else’s. Beyond the daily routine being just that, we face milestones like our beloveds’ and our own health calamities, births and deaths. Maybe what is different, beyond living in an artistic circle, is the way all life’s experiences become creative fodder or, at least, motivation. In my case, this year’s roller coaster has filled me with an immediacy to my creative drive heretofore unknown. Time really isn’t a limitless commodity.

Stebner in the Rockies

Having given Jim’s mom’s cold corpse a final farewell kiss several weeks ago, we welcomed our first grandchild, Hugh Thomas, into the world on his Colorado mountain top early this month, where I had my first crack at painting the Rockies. Returning home, some invisible magnetic drive has drawn me to my easel every day. All this may explain the blog suspension over the past month.

Hugh Thomas Stebner

This morning I found myself downloading images to the Sharon Weiss Gallery website. Now folks in Columbus, Ohio will have direct access to my work.  After writing this blog, it will be back to the easel, where I hope to wrap up a new commission…or accept the call to the wild and grab my art backpack an head for my roots in the Cuyahoga Valley.

I’m also reveling in the success of the first weekend of my show/sale Unfurled, which celebrates my cancer-clear state after visiting Klinik Marinus am Stein as well as a birthday which launches me into a new decade. The show continues next weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 2:00-5:00. This is the first(for at least another 10 years, last) time I’m offering a 20% discount to my clients, in gratitude for their support of my cancer treatment. There are a number of plein air paintings from that trip as well as more painted in my studio recalling the beautiful water and skies which were the backdrop to the many sailboats I watched navigate the Chiemsee two months ago. September, it’s off to Nantucket!

sailboats on Cheimsee

Blue Skies Smiling on Me

The past two weeks Griffin and I have been spoiled by the weather here in northeast Ohio- renowned for cloudy, gray days. Our morning painting sessions en plein air have been idyllic: the sort I remember on my summer in Brittany -another place with a bad weather rap. Sunny skies, gentle breezes and happy clouds accompanied by the rhapsody of nature.

Ira Road plein air oil panel
6×8 $175 unframed

I’ve had a blast teaching him and improving my own painting “chops” in the full(plein) sunny, not-humid Ohio air which the end of May and beginning of June have gifted us. It’s really making us anxious to get on the plane (in less than three weeks) and head for France.

Maybe next post I’ll share the itinerary. It’s delicious.

Ira Road Barn
plein air panel 8×10 $300, unframed

Abandoned Farmhouse
6×8 oil plein air panel $195 unframed

Rites of Spring

When the weather first breaks in Ohio, be it March or April,  there are several things I do to initiate the return of the warm south wind. Usually it’s Stella Artois and smoked salmon in the garden as soon as the sun has warmed the air enough. Last week, the first week of March, we opened the garden with cocktails before dinner with friends under the new, not quite finished pergola built last November. Since then, we’ve enjoyed both coffee and lunch there.

An artistic rite of spring is to head to the historic covered bridge about twelve miles from here for a plein air painting excursion. Several years ago I got to the river bed, set up my easel and as I began to load my palette, realized I’d forgotten to pack white paint. Oops. This year, I had the privilege of sharing the trip with a young art student, Grif. Our little voyage was a practice for France this summer-oh- did I say France? Yes, but that’s another blog. It’s spring break for the University of Akron this week, so Grif and I are taking several days to make art field trips together. It’s a unique privilege to share my world, whether at home or abroad, with new, young eyes seeing something for the first time. The Cuyahoga Valley is my heritage. It restores me each time I return. What fun to show it to an artist in the spring of his life.

Today we head to Cleveland. Stay tuned.

Covered Bridge, 6x8 plein air panel, $150 unframed