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February 16th, 2006

Review Not Yet Published

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The Town Crier
October 16th, 2003


This piece, among others, is a part of Stephen Murphy's fourth annual show and sale. He holds his shows in his Greenwood Avenue home.
Relaxing in Paint
Local artist unwinds with canvas and brush




He said he paints out of his natural need to unwind, and to rid himself of the tensions of the daily grind. It's not a matter of simply sitting downto paint, but he also finds solace in the mixing of colours, and, of course, visiting locations that are fabulous.
   "I find the mixing of the paint very sensual and very relaxing…for me, the stress seems to pour out of me. Some people like to be in front of the TV, I like to paint and be creative," he said.
   "I like nature. And I like to be out in bright beautiful days. The subject doesn't matter. It could be a can on the street or it could be a flower in a garden," he said, adding that he prefers getting up-close to his subjects.
   "Instead of sitting back and painting a picture of a landscape, I might go in and crop the image, like the bow of a boat or the paint flakes on the boat.
   "I was a photographer for years, but I have been able to transfer that to my art."
   He admits that his swirls of paint and interpretations of his subjects are sometimes abstract, or at least sections of his works are deliberately different from what he painted.
   "It's almost whimsical. What makes a great watercolour is to be loose. Sketching tends to cramp you in. But if you are loose, you become very whimsical. So with the layering of the paint, it can be very abstract."

Murphy is showing his work at his fourth annual show at his home at 76 Greenwood Ave., Nov. 13 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Nov. 14 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Nov. 15, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


  At six feet and 220 pounds, Stephen Murphy acknowledges that he does not look the part of the angst-ridden artist.   But his imposing frame or the public's assumption he's involved in a more ham-fisted vocation does not keep him from using words like "sensual" and "whimsy" when he describes his putting brush to canvass.
   "Sometimes when I tell people I'm a painter, they asked "a painter of what? Walls?" he said.
   This romantic approach to his work-watercolour images of landscapes, withered boats on shorelines and flowers-is also motivated by politics and education.
   He prefers the more European lifestyle of taking the time to dine out and visit galleries to the North American mandate of staring at a television every weeknight, and he urges all others to share his thoughts.
   He works, too, to help invite the public to enjoy art beyond those painters already famous.
   "I love the Group of Seven. But let's move on. Lets find some more Groups of Seven here in Toronto," he said.
   "It's important for us as Canadians to get out there and enjoy art. The more we do that, the more we can foster a truly healthy relationship with artists. I think it's crazy that the AGO has to get out and do fundraising."

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