Paintings by Stephen Bruce
April – June 2021
As artist Stephen Bruce puts it, “every minute, Mother Nature is producing a new masterpiece.” That’s why he considers nature to be his biggest influence and present in every piece he creates. His work feels connected to nature’s very processes, filled with evidence of erosion, fluvial pathways, and stratification. Bruce’s techniques and artistic vision intersect art and natural science with images that feel elemental, being simultaneously timeless and transitory, much like the ever-changing canvas of Earth.
We are pleased to welcome Stephen Bruce to our virtual gallery and share his masterful art created by applying acids to copper.
About the Acid Patination Process
Patinas on metal can be created by painting with flame or using hot or cold solutions. Bruce’s method of choice is cold patinas. He sprays, brushes, dips, or sponges an acid solution and allows the metal to slowly react. Bruce explains that “previous experience tells me how the colors, patterns, and textures will develop and how long it may take to happen. There are some processes that can be completed in a day, but most take five to ten days to complete.”
All of the paintings in this series were created using a variety of acids on copper sheets. Each acid and application technique produces a different result, guided and nurtured by Stephen Bruce’s experience and expertise.
click on images to enlarge
Stephen Bruce is genuinely overjoyed to be making art after decades spent supporting other artists and working in retail management. “For years, I was an artist representative, consulting on presentation and development. Some encouraged me to focus on my own creativity, but I felt that my time to become an artist had past – that my creative spirit had not been revealed and developed as a child,” says Bruce. In that sense, his problem was the opposite of Picasso’s famous observation, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
But one memory stuck with Bruce, as the call to express himself grew more insistent: “I used to make copper bracelets as a child. They kept turning green. My father gave me a lecture and explained that oxidation is merely acids affecting the surface of metal. As an adult, I just thought it through backward: What if I introduced an array of acids to the metal? Could I manipulate oxidation and control the resulting effects of color and pattern, and texture? I wanted to explore that nexus of art and science.”
Bruce’s gentle humility coupled with an unusually disciplined work ethic has much to do with his success: “My biggest artistic influence is the greatest artist ever, Mother Earth. Every artist is imitating her. My seascapes are inspired by the beauty of the ocean, perhaps an aerial view from the sky. My abstracts, an attempt to mimic the colors and patterns of some geological formations. And my landscapes are my best efforts to capture the feeling of a fleeting moment in a sunset, a sunrise, or on the horizon.”
Bruce’s work has gained followers and patrons worldwide, ranging from prestigious gallery owners to discriminating art lovers to legendary American Painter Richard Mayhew. “The creativity of his process renders such unique color tones and textures,” Mayhew remarks. “The contrasts from cyan to deep blue combined with the ocean greens are the effects we love the most,” enthuses Rob Bowley, a London, England client. You probably have also encountered his work on popular TV shows and movies. From House, Law & Order, Criminal Minds, and Big Bang Theory to movie sets of The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Endgame, Horrible Bosses, and The Social Network, his acid paintings on copper help set the scene.
Stephen Bruce lives and works in Richmond, California where he revels in the flourishing community of East Bay Bohemians. Learn more about Stephen Bruce’s work by following him on Instagram.
Engaged in the Arts Community
Stephen Bruce is deeply connected and actively involved in the Bay Area Arts Community.
- Red Umbrellas – Board President and Member
- Art of the African Diaspora – Chair, Steering Committee
- Skidmore Project – Founder