A! Magazine for the Arts

Steven Reeves in his studio at The Arts Depot, Abingdon, Virginia.

Steven Reeves in his studio at The Arts Depot, Abingdon, Virginia.

Steven Reeves specializes in realistic portraits

October 26, 2021

Steven Reeves has a studio at The Arts Depot in Abingdon, Virginia, and specializes in realistic portraiture.

“I have loved animals since I was a child. Growing up in the rural mountains of North Carolina, I got to see animals most every day. It was a natural progression of my painting to include animals. The first animal I painted was a lioness. For 11 years old, I did a great job,” he says.

Since that first lioness, Reeves has studied privately for around 15 years including with American Southern artist Abbe Rose Cox, who was once listed as one of the top 10 women artists in the nation. He also earned a BFA degree in painting from the University of North Carolina–Greensboro, and has worked over three decades to perfect his skills.

Those skills are often used Reeves to immortalize a favored pet.

“Having a professional original work of art is unique in many ways, and it exemplifies what a pet means to the family and how much they are loved and cherished. Everyone has photos, but a painting becomes an extra special family heirloom.

“To capture not only a likeness but the spirit and personality is a challenge and a joy. Knowing the painting will be loved and cherished for years to come is a source of pride and sincere happiness that I experience in my work. The most memorable are the ones when my client views the completed painting and actually cries. Their tears of joy tell me more than words could convey. That tells me unequivocally that I captured a likeness and their spirit,” Reeves says.

He has been asked to paint dogs, cats and horses. An average life-size painting takes 20 to 40 hours of work. To begin the process of getting a portrait of your own pet, Reeves suggest visiting his website. It contains examples of his pet portraits and the procedure and price list.

“Choosing the medium and size is important, so knowing where the work of art will be displayed is good to know but not a necessity. Some people give them as gifts,” he says. Reeves works from photographs of the pets, so it is helpful if the client has good reference photos or allows Reeves to take photos.

“I also do portraits of people, landscapes and seascapes. I have been working on a series of socially engaged portraits for the past six years. Each painting highlights an important national issue, and one happens to be of a Siamese cat, painted nearly twice actual size, focusing on the importance to spay and neuter our pets because there are over 70 million stray cats and dogs in our nation,” Reeves says.

Reeves has won or placed in the top three in most all local and regional art competitions he has entered and was especially honored to receive a second-place award in the international FL3TCH3R exhibit and competition in 2016. He has exhibited his artwork throughout much of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Washington D.C. Additionally, his paintings are in collections across the nation, notably in Texas, Indiana, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

“Winning is a thrill, but I keep my feet on the ground knowing the percentage chance of winning is low when my painting is competing with over one or two hundred other works of art. There is joy in sharing my art.

“As an artist, I was taught to view the world in a way most people do not. I often notice things that others miss. Because of my artist’s eyes, I notice features and colors and shapes and find people and animals to be captivating. I also have a gratitude practice I have been doing daily for many years. A new day, no matter what is going on in the world, presents opportunities, and that is inspiring.

“I can paint anything, and I like a challenge. I have years of experience and a long list of clients who love the work I did for them. I continue to push myself and grow, and I’d love to create something new and exciting for your readers,” Reeves says.

To learn more about Reeves’ portraits, visit www.stevenreevesart.com.

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