Sheffield born Stephen Coates was advised to forget about art at school. His teacher acknowledged his ability but suggested there was no future in the subject. Having spent 16 years in the music industry and another 16 years running his own sandwich business, Stephen finally disregarded his teachers advice and in April 2011 turned professional as an artist and teacher and now runs art classes and art groups in his home city.
Stephen explains, “Ten years ago I was a little disillusioned with life. Call it mid-life crisis if you like but I found myself thinking about what I was doing and what I was really good at. I hadn’t drawn a picture or lifted a paint brush since I was a teenager. For some reason I decided to go out and get some drawing paper and pencils and soon realised that I still had it in me. At the same time I watched a series on television about watercolours and it was so inspiring that I rushed out and bought all that gear too. I could have done with some art classes myself but I got cracking, practised hard, framed some of my efforts and hung them in my sandwich shop. I was stunned, people actually liked them and parted with their cash. One of my customers said to me, “I’ve been painting for years and I can’t paint sky like that.” I explained how it was done and she then asked me if I had considered teaching. That was the defining moment. I decided to run my own art classes.”
“I was so excited about what I had discovered and how I had progressed that I felt I could help other people achieve the same. I designed a six week watercolour course and set up a purpose built teaching studio and invited people to attend. I was stunned by the positive response. My art classes in Sheffield proved to be very popular and I have really enjoyed sharing my own enthusiasm with other people. I was invited to present at art society meetings and I am now an established art demonstrator. I also looked for commercial opportunities for my own work. There was plenty to go at.”
“Running my other business was eating up all my time and it became extremely difficult to explore further opportunities and run my art classes. Eventually in April 2011, I sold my sandwich business and I am now concentrating all my efforts on creating watercolour paintings, watercolour prints and further developing my art classes and teaching groups. I have also written a watercolour tuition book entitled “The watercolour enigma” which was published in June 2014. It is available to buy on this website.
“My latest works are studies of people walking in the rain. They are much larger works and I have used huge watercolour washes in an attempt to create soft blurry backgrounds and strong but distorted reflections. They are available on line from this website today.”
“I have also just launched a range of greetings cards featuring my work and these include some golf cartoons which were done as a bit of a joke really. They are now a fully fledged golf greetings card and ideal for anyone keen on golf”