The Florida artist, who creates his pieces with his own special paint on metal, will be in the gallery's Winter Park location doing live painting.
Artists tend to wear two different hats — one for the public and a second for the studio.
Folks rarely get a glimpse of the latter: Many artists prefer to work in solitude — surrounded by their medium.
But this weekend, Florida-based artist Stephen Muldoon will make the trip to Ocean Blue Galleries’ Winter Park location. From Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17, he will work on original paintings in front of visitors.
“I’ll paint originals throughout the show — I’ll usually work on two pieces at the same time, because of my layering process,” Muldoon said. “It’s nice, because people can come in and see me Friday, then back in on Sunday they’re always curious, ‘Oh, I just wanted to see how it came out,’ and this and that.”
The event will give patrons a chance to catch Muldoon at work, but it’s not the first time his incredible paintings have been seen in the gallery.
Since being found almost a decade ago, Muldoon has had his work featured prominently in Ocean Blue Galleries — becoming one of the gallery’s highest-selling artists.
UNIQUELY HIS OWN
It’s no surprise that Muldoon’s work has become so popular considering its well-crafted and visually stunning nature. Some paintings feature sweeping Florida landscapes that are seemingly lit up with the sun’s warm glow, while some feature portraits of animals that looks as if they could walk out of the painting.
The colors alone pop with flare, which is another characteristic brought forth by Muldoon’s unique use of his medium — which includes a special homemade paint and, strangely enough, a sheet of metal.
“I’m one of the only artists in the country that hand paints my technique on metal,” Muldoon said. “Painting on metal allows me to have a lot of different effects — things that you can not do on canvas — they are a lot more interactive with the viewer than a regular canvas.
“My pieces reflect light through the special paint I use — I developed my own paint for the metal — and the light sort of comes through and allows the metal to bounce back through the piece, and it is quite amazing,” he said.
The process of developing both this technique and the style of painting has been a painstakingly long and expensive — $150,000 to be exact — endeavor for Muldoon, who has been working as an artist for nearly 40 years.
Getting his paint the way he wanted it alone took 18 months and involved working with dangerous chemicals that required Muldoon to wear a mask.
“I never gave up, because I knew it was something,” Muldoon said. “All an artist ever wants to do is stand out and do something different. … I live by a motto of breaking every rule that I can, and that’s how we come up with new things.”
Between working on multiple pieces simultaneously and his lengthy process, Muldoon said each piece can be time-consuming. Some can take as many as 100 hours to complete.
The challenge of his work is one that Muldoon gladly accepts, especially after the trials he faced to get to this stage in his career. His dedication to his art left him homeless on nearly a dozen occasions, and at age 19 Muldoon found his way to Florida by hitchhiking from his native Ohio.
Now, instead of living day-to-day painting murals, Muldoon has become a successful artist who spends every day at his home studio.
“For an artist, it really wasn’t a big deal for me — I just had to line my next gig up and get things cooking again,” Muldoon said. “It was a struggle, but you know what? That was the love of it.
“You have to stick with your passion, and stay focused and never give up — you can do and be anything you want to be,” he said. “I could have (gone and gotten) a job at a bar, and got health insurance and a nice apartment, but I didn’t. I decided to suffer for my work, because I knew it would pay off one day.”