Steven Quartly: Calitopia
"Steven Quartly: Calitopia." Off the Easel Magazine. Winter 2012: 10-11.
March 10 & 11, 2012
Steven Quartly is an artist who is true to his classical training, with an eye for capturing the picturesque. His ability to recreate a scene’s inherent qualities through the manipulation of the medium of oil on canvas, mimics the fluidity of light over land and sea. In his native land of California, Steven Quartly sees what the great masters saw of their own land: a utopia. Built upon his personal affinity for home and the landscape that remains familiar and beloved, Quartly depicts California’s greatest treasures to be shared with his collectors for all time.
The wine country of Napa Valley thrives upon the bounty of its delicately balanced terrior and its healthy coastal marine air. Its unique composition makes the land ideal for growing and producing the best wine in the country, and for this has placed California’s vineyards among the greatest in the world. It has taken many decades to compete with the valued reputation of French wines, but the dedication and loyalty of Californian sommeliers and winemakers to their native produce has built Napa Valley into one of the most luxurious destinations in the West.
Deeply rooted within California history lies the great city of San Francisco. It has been a center for culture and prosperity since the late 1800s and continues to experience an abundance of inhabitants who have fallen in love with the freedom and independence that it represents. The Golden Gate Bridge, an iconic symbol rising out of the mist, reminds visitors of our potential as Americans. Steven Quartly’s own grandfather, Eric Quartly, was a head engineer in the production of the bridge, and so this landmark holds even greater importance to the artist.
Truly exemplifying California’s diverse beauty, the small retreat of Carmel, California exists within the noble greenery of its natural surroundings. Many artists throughout history have found visual inspiration from this idyllic town on the Monterey Peninsula, including photographers Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. In fact, the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club was founded here in 1905 and became home to an artists colony composed of Upton Sinclair, Robinson Jeffers, Sinclair Lewis, William Keith, Percy Gray, Arnold Genthe and Nora May French, amongmany others. Following the example of these creative personalities, Steven Quartly adds his tribute to such a striking and beautiful landscape.
Known as the “American Riviera,” Santa Barbara’s traditional and timeless beauty recalls visitors back to the romance of the Mediterranean coastline. The playground of the Hollywood elite and also a favorite honeymoon retreat, the small town’s red-roofed villas are nestled between lush green mountains and protective islands off of the coast. Although it may sound like the scene from a novel, Steven Quartly knows this beautiful town first-hand. Having studied at Santa Barbara City College, Quartly never took for granted the picturesque idealism of his surroundings.
Santa Catalina Island
The most populated of California’s Channel Islands, Santa Catalina Island was built and developed by William Wrigley, Jr., owner of Wrigley Chewing Gum Company. Although only miles from Los Angeles, Catalina evokes a spirit of escape, that encourages artistic luxury and indulgence. Avalon’s Art Deco influence from the 1920s and the Catalina Casino remain as iconic images on the island that are forever attached to California’s art history.
Another artist community at the seaside, California’s Laguna Beach has attracted painters and poets since the 1920s. Filled with influences of Rembrandt and Charles W. Mundy, Quartly’s oil paintings capture the feeling of this magical place. Through his paintings the viewer experiences the salty marine air, the bright sun glittering upon the ocean swells – and his palette knife emulates the texture of dry palm fronds and delicate California wildflowers.
San Juan Capistrano
Just south of Laguna, along the coast, lies the beautiful city of San Juan Capistrano which is filled with the imagery of California’s early history. The surrounding architecture recalls its foundation by Spanish Franciscans, with the creation of Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776 – now famous for the yearly migration of cliff swallows from Argentina to the Mission. It is home to the first vineyard in California, as well as the very first winery. As an artist, Steven Quartly traces Capistrano’s deeply anchored European origins with personal experience painting in France and Italy, and his working knowledge of European painters. His art makes the inherent connection between this beautiful Alta California town and its ancestral heritage.
Quartly makes a full circle as he returns to his place of birth in San Diego, California. San Diego continues to attract visitors from all over the world for the ease and comfort of its every day vacation atmosphere. Relaxing and sunny, this city’s wide selection of surfline seems made for the eyes of an artist. Whether overlooking the cliffs up in “the jewel” of La Jolla, or staying at the Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island, strolling through Balboa Park or golfing at Torrey Pines, San Diego’s idyllic scenery compels the viewer to hold their breath in amazement.
Steven Quartly: Under the Tuscan Sun
"Steven Quartly: Under the Tuscan Sun." Off the Easel Magazine. Summer 2011: 12-13.
To gaze out upon the hills of Tuscany is to share a view with some of the greatest artists in history. For centuries, the Italian countryside has defined romantic beauty and set the scene for artistic creativity. Just as the quaint Tuscan towns and stunning views inspired Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance, the finest masters of our time come here today to pay homage to its rich and influential visual heritage. In preparation for his upcoming exhibition at Exclusive Collections Galleries, Steven Quartly has taken Tuscany as his muse to create a body of Italian-inspired masterpieces. His vision reminds those who have the opportunity to experience joy and fulfillment through art, to indulge themselves in the romance of their own memories, to discover tranquility and peace once again. Steven Quartly, born and raised in California, found his calling in the arts, learning to play music and going to school to graduate with a B.A. in Fine Art from Azusa Pacific University.
His devoted training and educational background in painting call forth an Impressionist style with timeless appeal. His impressions of California in many ways parallel the dedication of the Italian masters to depict their native region. In this way, Quartly’s paintings already held a strong connection to Tuscany, and a European study was the natural complement and progression in the growth of his painting career.
Steven Quartly explains, “As an artist, painting anywhere in Europe is a dream come true.” In travels to the region of Tuscany with his wife, Natalie, Steven has had the honor to pay tribute to Italy’s artistic legacy, and these Italian scenes have become synonymous with his title as a master artist. Quartly’s memories of traveling in Europe remain with him and have found their way into his paintings. When he arrived in Tuscany, he was immediately intrigued by its unmistakable beauty, saying, “It is hard to describe in words, but there is something about the light in Tuscany different from anywhere else- it seems to be warmer, and the shadows are longer.” When traveling to the small towns of Europe, it is the small, unknown niches, the unattended corners that translate as picturesque. For this artist, there are a few specific places in Italy that hold a great deal of meaning. Rather than walk among the throngs of tourists, he searches for a view that he can call his own. Quartly reminisces, “There are a few places we go back to every time. We made them our own. I could stay there and just paint if I wanted to. And as an artist, if you can stay in one place, you will get to know it better.” Certainly, Steven Quartly invites you to know Tuscany just as he does. Layer by layer, using the palette knife, Quartly masterfully constructs the scene, recreating the warm summer light gilding the Tuscan fields, finding its way through a picturesque doorway, filtering through climbing bougainvillea or beaming sunflowers.
The slower pace, the mellow, happy lifestyle of a summer day exists before your eyes. He loves Italy for its “small towns, the culture, how old everything is.” Indeed, it is a place to be shared and celebrated. Steven Quartly strongly believes in creating a definitive style all his own. Though Tuscany has appealed to artists for centuries, Quartly’s directional eye and person- al independence allow him to forge his own path among a familiar subject. He combines the plein air technique with studies from sketches and photographs in order to develop a work of art that captures the moment and the ephemeral casts of light and shadow. With the addition of studio work to his traditional painting techniques, the artist’s versatility allows him to construct an image in any way he desires. His vision for a painting is what makes his work truly unique, what sets him apart from other artists of his time. Steven Quartly’s Impressionist masterpieces appeal to a broad variety of aesthetic tastes, his collectors ranging from celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck to PGA Tour golfer Esteban Toledo. The demand for his paintings has grown so dramatically in recent years, that it is rare to find the artist away from his canvas or outside of an art gallery. Join Steven Quartly at Exclusive Collections Gallery on September 23-25 for a champagne reception and art exhibition in an unique opportunity to learn about the artist’s work and to meet the artist in person.