About the Artist


Stephen Joseph Howes (a.k.a. Esteban) was born in San Francisco, California on January 20th 1946. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco State University and a Masters from University of San Fancisco. He is presently retired and happily married to the lovely Marilyn Howes. They have five adult children and four grandchildren between them.

With steady encouragement from his mother Lola Marie Howes, he began painting as soon as he could hold a brush. Several great teachers at San Francisco State University helped him along the way.  Once out of school, he had the extreme good fortune to work with two fine teachers, Edward Carrillo of Oaks College and Joanne Cullimore of Domincan College.

He paints under the nom de plume “Esteban.” He signs checks "Stephen J. Howes" and didn’t want the writing on the paintings to be so literal.  If clients would allow it, he would just as soon not sign the piece at all, allowing it to speak for itself.

He is a long standing vetern of Santa Cruz County Open Studios, Capiola Art and Wine and Scotts Valley Art and Wine to name a few.  He has also participated in Santa Cruz’s “First Fridays.”  His work has been shown Los Altos, Carmel, Orlando, Chicago and Monterey.

He and his ever patient wife,Marilyn,  travel to an exotic location and gather sketches and digital files to be turned into transparent watercolors during the long quiet evenings and back home in the studio.  Recent excursions include Puerto Rico, Japan, China, Egypt, Myanmar,The Yucatan, Paris, Rome, Brazil, Argentina and Peru. The sales each of these collections are banked and finance the next trip out.

Painting these images allows him to study and discover what exactly it is that makes any given subject beautiful.  When doing portraits he is always amazed that, while everyone has two eyes, a nose and a mouth, there are no two the same and what it is that distinguishes one from another. 

Esteban's overall leitmotif is capturing the light falling across the lovely shapes he sees all around him. He is heavily influenced by the watercolors of John Singer Sargent.  Sacred architecture has become a favorite subject. These architects had such great faith that they built these monuments out of stone to last forever.  That blind belief is so touching, such a grand human inclination.  He simply desires to  communicate to his viewers the timeless serenity of these holy objects.  

Stephen and Marilyn have recently returned from a trip around the world.  He completed 14 watercolorrs and 28 sketches during the forty days of the trip.  See Artwork from Around the World.  Now for the studio work.  I have some lovely images from Miconos that are about to hit the easel.

© Stephen J. Howes 2014