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Ones to Watch: Painter Gregory Packard

Spotlighting the works of painter Gregory Packard

"Paradise Lost" | Oil on Canvas | 55 x 48 inches | 2013

Ones to Watch: Painter Rick Stevens

Spotlighting the works of painter Rick Stevens

Written by Michele Corriel  

Michele Corriel

Other Contributions

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LaRue Mahlke Ones to Watch: Artist Crista Ann Ames Ones to Watch: Christopher Ries Ones to Watch: Mary Bechtol In the Studio: Richard Parish Ones to Watch: Florian Roeper Ones to Watch: Greg Kelsey Ones to Watch: Andrew Denman Ones to Watch: Sandra Pratt Ones to Watch: Jeff Williams Ones to Watch: Josh Clare Ones to Watch: Daniel Weaver Ones to Watch: Nora Naranjo-Morse Ones to Watch: Marela Zacarías Ones to Watch: Glenn Dean Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Jinni Thomas Ones to Watch: Artist Karen Bezuidenhout Ones to Watch: Rory Egelus Ones to Watch: Ceramic Artist George McCauley Ones to Watch: Painter Rick Stevens Ones to Watch: Jon Dick Ones to Watch: Mixed-media Artist Christopher Owen Nelson Ones to Watch: Diana Tremaine Ones to Watch: Josh Elliot Ones to Watch: Doug Smith Ones to Watch: David Barrett Ones to Watch: Howard Knight Ones to Watch: Silas Thompson Ones to Watch: Kristine Allphin Ones to Watch: Chris Morel Ones to Watch: Sherry Salari Sander Ones to Watch: Alan Carr Ones to Watch: Robert Royhl Ones to Watch: Robert Seliger Ones to Watch: Karen Woods Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Glendon Good Ones to Watch: Painter Deladier Almeida Ones to Watch: Sculptor Stephanie Revennaugh Ones to Watch: Painter Gregory Packard Ones to Watch: Randy Stromsoe Ones to Watch: Beth Loftin Ones to Watch: Dyani White Hawk Ones to Watch: David Bardwick Ones to Watch: Donna Gans Ones to Watch: Susan Jarecky Ones to Watch: Carrie Fell Ones to Watch: Rose Masterpol Ones to Watch: Bryan Peterson Ones to Watch: Terry Karson Ones to Watch: Lisa Ronay Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Perspective: Gennie DeWeese [1921-2007] Ones to Watch: Andrew Mann Ones to Watch: Bonnie Teitelbaum Illuminations: Ones to watch Perspective: Frances Senska [1914–2009] Collector’s Eye: Native American folk art collector Bruce VanLandingham
June | July 2014


Rick Stevens’ paintings reach beyond the surface, delving into the spaces between. His vibrantly lush palette vines and seeps into the canvas. Based in the natural world, his work explores the graphic abstract relevance of nature. As viewers, we are privy to the discovery process.

“One of the things that inspires me is quantum physics,” Stevens says. “The way we’re no longer abiding by the laws of Newtonian physics. There was a mechanistic point of view, but [when] the quantum physics theorists began to measure smaller and smaller particles ... bizarre things happened.”

The idea that everything, from atoms to quarks, were found to contain more and more interesting and unexpected things leads Stevens to look at his own work in a similar way.

“One thing that amazed me is that they found out the scientist is no longer merely the observer, but part of the subject he’s studying,” Stevens says. “A lot of Eastern philosophy parallels this new science. All of it stimulates my consciousness and affects my work.”

Instead of following a linear approach, Stevens follows his intuition.

“I give more authority to my intuition than my intellectual process. I can be very analytical, and it’s good to keep that tool sharp, but I try to keep tuned in to a more holistic way of seeing,” he says. “Nothing is static. And I’m not interested in validating scientific theories with my art or trying to illustrate them, it’s more a fueling of my imagination.”

Stevens works in both oils and pastels.

“They are very different mediums but I use them basically the same,” he says. “Pastels and oils both have a layering process but the materials are so different, yet the look and approach is quite similar. The way I work is to use a method that is open for drastic changes at any point in the process. I’m scraping the paint and I’m building it up continually.”

Although Stevens does sketch first, he puts the sketch away as soon as he begins a painting. 

“I try to keep it very open, so it’s spontaneous and improvised, like a jazz musician,” he says. “And I either put a canvas or a pastel up on the easel depending on what I want to convey. I might have the same idea for either one, then I have to decide on the medium to get there ... like playing two instruments.”

Stevens moved from Michigan to New Mexico five years ago and some of those rich green landscapes can still be seen in his work. New Mexico is still evident as well.

“I go out hiking a lot and I take my sketch book,” he says. “But my imagery is not specifically about the landscape. It’s more metaphorical, abstractly metaphorical. Such as looking at light filtering through trees and reflecting on water. It has a spiritual light, like a light from within.”

He’s also inspired by the sensuality of nature.

“The rough bark on a tree, moist, gritty earth, water and how it flows and reflects; I riff on those symbolic things and come up with my own deconstructed images,” he says. “I like playing with illusions, reminding you of something that’s only suggested — the illusion of space, atmospheric space or an overlapping depth.”

Stevens is widely collected and is represented by Hunter Kirkland Contemporary in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Paul Scott Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, among others. 

Rick Stevens

"Interactions Between Us" Oil on Canvas | 48 x 48 inches | 2013