The art of war and the art of painting would seem to be mutually exclusive.
   Unless the artist in question is himself a warrior.
   Sergeant 1st Class Brian Steverson, a parachute rigger with the Army, combines his love for the military with his love for painting. This seemingly paradoxical love for country and love for colors will be on display at Gallery 208 beginning Jan. 22.
   “A lot of my paintings I’ve given away,” said Steverson. “I give it to my buddies because it’s usually airplanes, tanks, jumpers ... whatever they like or want.”
    Steverson was also commissioned to paint an insignia on the wall of his chow hall, as well as giant jump wings on the wall of the parachute rigger shed.
   {mosimage}As a painter of such macho, militaristic subjects, it’s a little shocking to pore through Steverson’s portfolio and find paintings of pink flamingos ... shocking pink flamingos.
   “My artwork is a little bit of everything,” said Steverson. “I like to do paintings and drawings ... acrylic seems to be the way to go these days as there’s less cleanup and it’s less money and dries faster. I do oils too ... I’ve been doing oils for years.”
   A native of Florida, it’s understandable why Steverson would paint flamingos. He also has created many landscapes — seascapes of the Florida coast as well as a number of paintings of the canals of Venice and other sites in Italy. His love for things Italian can be traced to his admiration of the artist who has been his biggest influence: Michelangelo.
   “The greatest artist was Michelangelo,” said Steverson. “He’s not the greatest paimter ... he was the greatest sculptor. He was a draftsman, an architect ... he practically built Rome.”
   Steverson — who describes his style as being caught somewhere between impressionism and realism — also admits an admiration for Monet and some of the realists. However, his first influence was his mother, who dabbled in everything art-related, including oils and acrylics, drawing, stained glass and flower arrangements on the wall.
   Steverson currently has four paintings hanging at Cape Fear Studios and recently had an exhibit at Cottages of North Ramsey.
   A fast worker, he says a typical painting generally takes a couple of hours to complete, depending on the size.
   In addition to his quickness with the brush, Steverson boasts something of an eccentricity: he paints using only three primary colors.
   “I paint in primary red, primary yellow and primary blue and colors they don’t call colors ... white and black,” said Steverson.
   While his choice of colors may be basic, his work is multifaceted. Check out his art at the Leonard McLeod Gallery, Gallery 208, 208 Rowan St., in the offices of Up & Coming Weekly. Also ongoing at Gallery 208 is an exhibition of the work of famed editorial cartoonist Dennis Draughon.

Contact Tim Wilkins at tim@upandcomingweekly.com

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