Steven Armstrong was born in 1962 to an artist mother and geologist father, both with an enormous capacity for observing the landscape, albeit through profoundly different lenses. After spending a few years in various parts of rural Ontario, they settled in Vancouver in 1966. As a member of an artistic family, Armstrong developed a deep, early interest in visual arts, music, and language. In addition to his “practical education,” Steven spent time practicing Graphic Design and travelling extensively throughout Asia and Europe. In 1996 Steven settled on Vancouver Island, where he has been painting professionally since 1997.
Armstrong’s goal is to create paintings that, while built from recognizable places, will be suggestive of a broader human experience within the context of our natural environment. As such, his paintings become as much about presence as they are about place. Understanding a place enough to convey its essence visually is never instantaneous. In his attempt to translate an immediate experience of place through paint on canvas, we enter a dialogue on an emotional and enduring level. Lone objects come to represent more than simply trees, rocks, earth, and sky – they suggest places that carry meaning for us as individuals, and we relate to them over the passage of time.
How do you communicate the experience of exploring a coastal rain forest, hiking to an alpine lake, or watching the wild Pacific waves roll in? I grew up fascinated by the way we conceptualize and express our relationship with the natural environment and with one another—that sense of connection. I approach painting as a form of communicating an ever-changing relationship with place. It’s a dialogue, really – a conversation into which the viewer is invited. -Steven Armstrong