‘Peaceful and Primordial’

By Randy Noles

Stephen Bach’s work has appeared on the cover of Winter Park Magazine more than that of any other artist. That’s a testament not only to the breathtaking quality of his work, but also to his penchant for choosing local subjects.

And, of course, his versatility. Bach is equally adept at painting images of moody urbanscapes, lush landscapes and sleek vintage automobiles.

For the cover of this issue, Bach captures the natural splendor of Lake Maitland. The original work hangs in the Capen-Showalter House and was used as the poster for the 2012 Winter Park Paint Out, a plein air art event sponsored by the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.

“Maybe the most appealing natural feature of our community, and what distinguishes us from so many like-sized cities, is the sanctuary of water,” says Bach.

“Our lakes and rivers are painting subjects I return to regularly. Lake Maitland’s solitude invites an evening ride in a kayak, watching osprey soar and anhingas drying wings on cypress. It’s a peaceful, primordial experience amid the expanding urban center.”

Bach, an Orlando native who trained at the Pratt Institute in New York City, began his career traveling across the U.S. to paint murals in nearly 500 Olive Garden restaurants in 47 states. (The parent company of the ubiquitous Italian eateries, then General Mills and now Darden Restaurants, is located in Orlando.)

Fifteen years ago, Bach decided to pursue his goal of becoming a fine-art landscape painter. Today he works from Winter Park’s McRae Art Studios, a 10,620-square-foot warehouse that has served as a collective home for the region’s most renowned artists since 1998.

At press time, though, the deceivably nondescript building was for sale, and Bach is involved in finding a new home for the 20 or so artists that create in this magical place.

Bach, in the meantime, continues to travel to festivals around the country and has emerged as the go-to artist for special-event posters. His painting, Veteran’s Fountain by Night, was selected as the official poster of the 2013 Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival.

And, for 10 of the past 14 years, he has been the poster artist for the Winter Park Concours d’Elegance, an annual collector-car show held earlier this year at the Winter Park Country Club.

In addition to classic cars and rural landscapes, Bach is fascinated by homes and commercial buildings. His knack for capturing the personalities of structures is why he was asked to render a portrait of the historic Capen-Showalter House, which appeared on the cover of the Winter 2016 issue of Winter Park Magazine.

But for Bach, landscapes remain his passion. “I wanted landscape painting to be my career destination, since it has held my fascination from the beginning,” he says.

For more information about Bach’s work visit stephenbach.com or mcraeartstudios.com.

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