Classically trained in drawing and painting at Lavender Hill Studios in London, Tim Steward has honed an artistic voice filled with raw, energetic mark-making and a deep emotional connection to place.
Steward’s choice of traditional mediums such as pastel, charcoal, pigment and oil, as well as found materials, such as charred wood, clay mud and sand, mirror his direct and instinctual way of working. Combining measured observation with working spontaneously at speed is at the heart of his painting and drawing technique.
Often working for long periods of time in specific locations, spending time quietly observing and becoming part of his surroundings. Steward explores the beauty of ‘place’, through study of the physical, historical and spiritual elements which characterise it, and by recording it’s ever-changing nature over time. The process began with a focus on the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, but more recently has centred around Tregardock, a National Trust owned area of North Cornwall.
Steward has felt a connection Tregardock since early childhood, stating that he feels a sense of aliveness there and that it has given this work a ‘renewed sense of freedom’, allowing him to work much more from a place of ‘instinct’. Over the past few years, he has spent time becoming immersed in the landscape there, at times physically sitting in the mud, in addition to exploring the history and story of the place by reading works by Daphne du Maurier, Robert McFarlane and poems by John Betjeman.
There is something very humbling about being alone in such a vast landscape, and in truth everything in me can pull away when the weather is stormy, such is the intensity of the place. Still though I know I must feel the Earth beneath me and the elements around me. As I emerge out the other side this last few years, Tregardock has become a wonderful place of solace, despite its fierceness at times.’