Stephen Leadenham migrated to Australia in 1980 from Yorkshire, England having met and married an Australian lady while working in London.
Employed in the transport sector for most of his career, Stephen has enjoyed drawing and painting throughout his life. His oil and acrylic paintings capture the magnificent national parks of Sydney, historical buildings and country life. Over the past decade, he has increasingly focused on the transport sector with substantial portfolio of past and present aviation, maritime and railway icons.
Regularly exhibiting in art shows across Sydney and New South Wales, Stephen’s works form part of private collections in Australia, Europe, Japan and the United States. He has been published in Australian Artist and Artists Palette magazines, and his awards include the Best Oil Painting in Show at the Art of Sydney 2009 Exhibition. His work is being increasingly commissioned by transport enthusiasts and professionals who seek accuracy and realism in the subjects they request.
Stephen is a member of the Macquarie Towns Art Society, the Nepean Art Society and the Australian Society of Aviation Artists, and is currently employed as the Purchasing Officer at the Balmain Shipyard.
Skills and techniques are acquired through practice, practice and more practice.
Here he gives some advice and a bit more insight into his life on beyond the wharf…
If you could have dinner with one artist dead or alive, who would it be?
“A few candidates spring to mind: The landscape impressionists Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts who captured the beauty in the Australian bush which European artists had trouble coming to terms with. Dinner with either of these gentlemen would be one wild ride.
A less enjoyable dining experience would be with Joseph (J.M.W.) Turner, probably my all time favourite artist. He was an accomplished draughtsman, watercolourist, oil painter and printmaker. And of course he painted boats and ships and trains! From his biography I think dining with him would prove a sombre, tedious affair though!”
You moved to the other side of the world for love. Any advice for others thinking about doing the same?
It is very much a case of weighing the pros and cons and the heart usually wins out. Being an only child, my decision to move to Australia must have been very hard on my parents although they never said as much. I took the selfish approach to start married life in a new country full of new opportunities. I had to put my trust in my Australian partner and her family to smooth my transition and in this regard was so much luckier than most migrants to this country. I have never regretted my actions although I may have experienced an occasional pang of guilt where my parents were concerned. My younger son is in a relationship with an American girl here in Sydney. I ask myself if the boot is about to be on the other foot…
Where did your love for art come from?
From my earliest years I have always enjoyed drawing and painting. I have no idea where my ability came – my father was a capable drawer. At secondary school I was sent to the local art college to undertake short courses in art. The life drawing class proved an eye opener for a naïve thirteen year old!
Since that time art has proved a means of relaxation and unwinding although often years would pass in which I never touched a brush. Ten years ago, with my adult sons now flown the nest, it seemed an ideal time to get back to the drawing and painting. My fascination with all things transport related melded well with the art to give me subject matter not usually covered by artists in Australia.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Above all enjoy what you do. Skills and techniques are acquired through practice, practice and more practice. Sketch a little every day because solid drawing skills provide a firm foundation on which to build work in any of the other two dimensional media.
Join a local art society to meet like-minded artists. Most of Sydney’s main suburban centres offer such groups and most of these groups offer low cost tuition. They also present an opportunity to exhibit in local shows and exhibitions. My own local group, the Nepean Art Society, regularly exhibits and sells work by members who joined as aspiring amateurs, built their skills and are now accomplished artists. It was fascinationg to see their work develop and mature over successive exhibitions.
View more of Stephen’s art and purchase his prints at www.leadenham.com