Posted: 21/04/2015 in Uncategorized
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Have you always painted ?

As long as I can remember I was always drawing as a child, and used to copy photos of my guitar hero’s when I was a teenager.

Have you had an art education ?

No I consider myself self taught, and find that being open to new ideas, materials and techniques is actually an advantage. I have never been a lover of rules, and my flexibility I think leads to avoiding being labelled a ‘one trick pony’ .

Do you have any online tutorials ?

Yes  in a couple of ways first there is my youtube channel, which is great fun and I love getting the feedback from around the World.

You can see my video’s here


The second way is my recently launched skype lessons for individuals and groups. You can read all about them on another separate blog by clicking the link below the logo.



How often do you paint ?

I like to paint every day, often starting before dawn (I am a night bird) and usually finishing at lunchtime drained and exhausted. Very happy when it’s gone well, and putting it down to experience when it hasn’t. When I have periods without painting, It makes me grumpy !

Do you paint in other mediums ?

Yes as well as my first love, watercolours, I also like pen and ink, mixed media (gouache) and chalk pastels. I have always been drawn to oils but hate the mess and the smell so have avoided it so far. Also I started relatively late in life (painting seriously that is) so feel I am against the clock, so would rather concentrate my efforts on fewer mediums, and do them really well.

Do you sell books ?

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

Yes, a few years ago I tried to remember everything I had ever learned (and read) about watercolours. I then produced my own e-book called ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ which is now available free to my Skype students.

It’s also for sale on Gumroad,  and as a special opening offer, the first 100 customers can download it for just $1 US, normal price is $15. Gumroad let’s you pay safely and securely online in your own currency.


You can also check it out first for free using this link, which gives you access to the contents page and a sample page on painting from photographs.


How do you sell your paintings ?

Through Galleries in Bulgaria (currently in Bourgas and Sozopol) , in Greece and also in Asia. And of course directly from our Art and Yoga centre in Sozopol.

What about your Teaching ?

I have been teaching for years now and really enjoy the challenges and the experience, it certainly teaches you humility, and how to think on your feet. My workshops in Sozopol, Bulgaria are very popular during the Summer, and in recent years I  have spent time in Asia teaching. I am also into my third year teaching in Vassiliki, on beautiful Lefkada in Greece, where I run workshops and painting holidays. So my teaching schedule for this year looks like this :-

QR for Greece wordpress 2017 Holiday blog

Scan this to read all about my Greece Painting Holidays





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And scan this one for my Bulgaria Workshops


Do you do commissions?

Yes I do, but don’t do portraits or animals !

What paints do you use ?


I use Tintoretto artist quality paints from Italy. I hate the restriction of pans and have always used tubes. My subjects and style involve access to lots of paint quickly, so I don’t use a traditional palette either I use white china bowls for mixing.

What brushes do you use ?


Almost exclusively Kolinsky sable brushes that a friend brings me from Moscow and St.Petersburg. I also have two full sets of Ron Ranson hakes, and various japanese mop brushes bought on my travels in Asia. I also love to use those cheap household paint brushes bought from DIY stores.

How long does it take to do a watercolour painting ?

The most enjoyable ones are the the ones I do ‘alla prima’ (in one hit) but sometimes I get bogged down in detail and those paintings become less enjoyable and more of a labour of love. Wet  in wet paintings can be done as quickly as 20 minutes. Some take up to a full day, but I do like to start a new painting every day. Sometimes when I am on a roll I can paint 12 in a day !

The most enjoyable ones are on those rare occasions, when it seems that someone else is controlling the brush. They are rare moments of magic, but the resulting paintings are usually my best work.

I have never been precious about my paintings, as far as I am concerned, they will always just be a cheap piece of paper. Apart from the pleasure I get from painting, the person who adds the value to the paper is the one who will spend their hard earned money on buying it. Now that is an honour.

What paper do you use and do you stretch it ?

In the early days I did stretch paper, but now I don’t. There is so much choice of paper out there these days, but I am bit limited to what I can buy locally in Bulgaria. I have always had a preference for 140lb 300gsm Bockingford Rough Paper. I think getting to really know one paper is more important than the brand so just experiment. My advice would be to buy the thickest you can then it won’t buckle as much (and you don’t need to stretch it). I simply tape my paper to a board using masking tape. It also leaves a nice border around the finished painting. But don’t let your younger students remove it themselves, as they have a tendency to rip their masterpiece, usually followed by tears !

How do you decide what to paint ?

I like to paint anything that moves me, though do have a preference for buildings, seascapes, rust and peeling paint.

Do you prefer plein air painting or studio work ?

I love to paint outdoors, but living and working in Bulgaria, and working and teaching in other hot countries is very difficult as the paint can dry in seconds, so I usually limit plein air work to sketches, and line and wash. This was my tiny plein air kit I used in Asia, where I even painted on the beach in full sun !


Do you paint from photographs ?

I try not to, but usually use a combination of a sketch and photos to record details. The mood of the paintings is something that I ‘feel’ from the experience of the scene.

What kind of camera do you use ?

I have recently bought a very small digital Sony WiFi camera, and take it everywhere with me. It has a fantastic zoom and you can download your images wirelessly, without cables or having to remove the memory card.

Do you exhibit ?

In the early days I did, but I find the experience very flattering but expensive, so are a little more synical these days about Exhibitions generally. It’s great for all those slaps on the back, and the kind words from friends. But in these tough days artists generally are finding it tough. And I would rather spend my time and money improving my work, and spending my money in art shops !

It’s also never been easier to have an online presence at a fraction of the cost. So I have concentrated my time there.

Do you have a website ?

Yes and No really. My website  was traditionally maintained by me, using a template, but it was never as I would have liked it to be. Partly due to the templates limitations, and partly due to my lack of technical knowledge. The upshot of that was that it was rarely up to date and relevant.

So recently I have migrated everything to wordpress, and find it much easier to update this regularly, sometimes even daily. Also I am very active on facebook, as it’s just so easy to get things ‘out there’ quickly.

Where else can I find you on the internet ?

Frankly everywhere, just search for Martin Stephenson or artstevo and see what comes up. I have been active for years online so the paper trail will be extensive….Just ignore the search results for the band Martin Stephenson and The Dainties ! That’s not me …..

You will find me on facebook, twitter, linkedin, , instagram, pinterest, wayn etc etc.

Click on the logo below to see my facebook page, where I always post my finished paintings first.

facebook logo


What about the future ?

Hopefully I will have more time to paint and improve. I recently started painting mixed media on canvas, and hope to do lots more. In addition I hope to write another book on mixed media, and produce lots more youtube tutorials, where nearly 100,000 people have already viewed them. It’s very gratifying to read the comments, and see my likes and followers continue to grow.

Can I subscribe to keep up to date ?

Yes most of the platforms support that, just click on the Subscribe button.

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