With seven miles of award-winning beaches, the longest pleasure pier in the world, four museums, three theatres, two art galleries, seven libraries and three casinos, it isn't really that hard to see why an artist such as Stephen Gibb's might find England's Southend-on-Sea, a source of great inspiration.
"I try to express my delight in living near the estuary and the beach, and the sun, and the waves, and sunbathers, and boats, and Southend-on-Sea generally. My inspiration is all around me. Not necessarily an exact representation of a view but is found from the underlying feeling or atmosphere of the place."
Specialising in Acrylic on canvas, Watercolour, and Lino Printing, Stephen Gibbs responds to his local environment.
"I believe that an artist should use their immediate locale in their work. If I had been born in Venice then all my pictures would have been of the Grand Canal."
Stephen Gibbs paints about what he is fundamentally familiar with. This inherent familiarity creates a sense of honesty and wisdom which runs throughout all his work. His ability to appreciate and unpretentiously reflect the true beauty of the landscape before him enables us the viewer to openly enjoy looking at his work.
Whether it's a glimpsed scene quickly sketched on the back of an envelope, a collection of photographs or a scribbled list of provocative words, Gibbs's constant observation and interaction with the landscape fuels and inspires his work. His own sense of sincerity and affection for the landscape he paints is vital to the creation of his work and is crucial to our own sense of enjoyment when looking at it.
Stephen Gibbs has been painting for over forty five years and in that time has won numerous awards, prizes and competitions. In 2003 he won the regional prize at the Discerning Eye Exhibition held at the Mall Galleries London. He has been annually selected to exhibit at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Singer and Friedlander/Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, The Royal West of England Academy in Bristol for the past five years and regularly exhibits in his local art gallery in Southend-on-Sea.