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Growing up in the outdoors of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay, you would think that Steve Rowlands would be inspired to capture on canvas the images of nature and the outdoor adventures that have been such an intricate part of his life. Well, he is. But, what guides his painting are images that appear serendipitously, like a 1937 rusted-out Chevy sitting in a field by an old barn where the light and the color and the brush strokes meld into a texture that exist in his own eyes.
There are a thousand sunsets, says Steve, and they are all beautiful. But my passion for painting is at its greatest when I see something that interest me, something that looks right, where light and composition align within me and I have the freedom to create an impression on canvas.
This “freedom” is imbedded in Steve’s love for the outdoors. Born in Maryland in 1960, Steve learned to sail with his grandfather and mother where every other weekend he found himself hauling anchor on Middle River and headed out to the Chesapeake Bay. He is a deft sailboat racer, enjoying the challenge of finding the wind, working with a team, and cutting it close on a mark. He has sailed in New England, the Caribbean, and the Gulf Coast; off shore, in heavy air, and no air and no power in the fog in the middle of the Bay.
Steve not only loves to fish, he knows how to find the fish whether it be fly fishing on a stream in Maryland or Pennsylvania or Maine or Alaska or casting for striped bass on the Chesapeake or mackerel or permit or bone fish or grayling or salmon or trout in New York, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Colorado, or the Florida Keys.
He enjoys bird hunting — goose, duck, grouse, pheasant — and the years of training and being in the field with his beloved Brittany Spaniel, Roxy, whose instincts made it so easy to become in sync that Steve says “it was like he was teaching me.”
A few years ago Steve took up kayaking after a winter of weekly visits to an indoor pool where he learned to roll where your success defined you as a boater or a swimmer. He then took on rafting trip down the Grand Canyon single handling a class #8 rapid.
He enjoyed drawing in his youth and was always asking for a good sketch pad. His love for art and design led him to college where he studied graphic design and then into a business that focused on designing logos, brochures, and website development.
He set aside painting on canvas for decades until he met Mike Savlee in Key West, Florida — a kindred spirit who embraced the outdoors but found himself drawn to the world of art. Today, Steve’s works are fast becoming recognized for their unique color, texture, and subject matter from rolling waves to sunset coves to windy regattas to colorful fish, birds, and turtles to a workboat headed out…or whatever captures his eye.
On the Water