What happens when you move an artist from snowy mountains of Switzerland to the coastal wetlands of Florida? It’s the sunshine state where it feels like summer all year around. It’s hot, humid and tropical. You can find an exotic fruit salad growing in your own back yard and everywhere you go you see palm trees, coconuts, alligators, iguanas, lizards and more. It’s surreal, fascinating and inspiring. My eyes and ears think I am on holiday, the sound of crickets and frogs singing at night, peacocks freely roaming around the neighborhood, pelicans soaring above my head at the pier, and dolphins escort the boats at sea. Every time I see a palm tree, I momentarily feel like I am on holiday. I wanted to capture this feeling of summer holiday, put in my pocket and be able to take it out on a rainy day.

The “Coastal” series is the joy of a summer holiday on a canvas. Inspired by Miami beaches, swimming pools, the Everglades and all that is tropical and Floridian. “Feel that vacation feeling on your walls”

Moving to Florida in February 2016 also shifted the energy of my work. Colorful industrial style still life subjects began to emerge. Inspired by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Gerard Richter, Stephanie focuses more on the process of creating an urban graffiti wall look to her canvases through a layering process of adding and subtraction of acrylic paint using knifes, brushes, water sprays, sponges and squeegees to create an industrial look. The shift in color palette is greatly influenced by the light of an eternal summer and the colors of the tropics that are simply fascinating and tantalizing.

Where did I put my sunglasses?

sunglasses painting 30x24x1.5inch stephfonteyn
This still life painting of my sunglasses is inspired by my time living in sunny Florida after 10 years in snowy Switzerland.

The first thing that struck me arriving in Miami was the light and the colors. They are food for the eyes. And being sensitive to light, I need my sunglasses. Where did I put my sunglasses? Sunglasses are like keys, we forget where we put them. Sometimes they are actually on my head! I love the metaphor that sunglasses represent: light, sun, holiday, vision, disguise, style.

I love the tropical greens, the blues and turquoises of the pools and ocean captured in the background and how they contrast with the warm colors in the foreground, they just pop off the canvas,

The painting is acrylic on stretched canvas.Dimensions: 30 inches wide by 24 inches high and 1.5 inches deep. (76cm wide by 61 cm high and 3.5cm deep)

Available for purchase on Saatchi Online Gallery.

Beach Bums

This painting is my first large format painting since arriving in Miami, Florida. You can already see how the colour and light is influencing me. I love the tropical greens and pool blues in the background and how they contrast with the warm colours in the foreground. They just pop off the canvas, those cheeky Miami beach bums.

It was a painting of New York that i had lost interest in. Then it transformed into a green Rothko, that transformed into a Richter abstract that became like a Basquiat with the cocktail symbols and finally the ladies arrived and it became a Fonteyn.

Evolution of a painting Beach bums

The painting is mixed media on stretched canvas, mainly acrylics. Dimensions: 200cm wide by 100cm high and 4cm deep. Please contact me directly for a price or visit Saatchi Online Gallery to purchase.

Beach bums painting Steph Fonteyn

Daily Painting – On the Everglades

Everglades, Acrylic on cardboard, 31x42.5cm, $200
Everglades, Acrylic on cardboard, 31×42.5cm, $200

Today’s daily painting was inspired by a trip to the Everglades, a ride on an airboat and alligators.

The human eye cone is more sensitive to greens than any other colour. I am really enjoying seeing and perceiving the vast range of luscious greens in the Sunshine state’s fauna. It really is food for the eyes!

There is a slight Monet-feel to this painting. Though my palette is more muted than his. “Playing safe, Steph?” a little voice says.

Not sure where the muted grays comes from. Or, do I? Let me think about that. I know artist’s color palettes can shift over the years. Mine have. They began more vibrant, at first they were very monochrome, and then they became more contrasted, saturated often using complimentary color schemes.

I spent 10 years living in Switzerland before Miami. I was lucky enough to be introduced to German artist, Uli Van Neyghem. We shared an art studio was 6 years. So, I’ll call it the “Uli Effect”. She is an advocate of shades of grey, calming nuances and muted colors. Check out her work here.

Let’s see if I get more daring with the colors again. I know my wardrobe are already getting brighter and I love checking out the Anne Klein collection in Macy’s for the lovely vibrant warm colours.

Daily Painting – Poolside II

Today’s painting was once again inspired by holiday photos from Mallorca in 2008. I love the glamorous lady in the foreground of the pool and I played with a palette knife for texture for the pool. I was torn between painting my usual way, playing with the palette knife and imagining the serene style of Hopper and Hockney. I would like to play with this image on a larger format with a different composition. Acrylic on canvas board 40cm x 30cmPoolside II by Steph Fonteyn 40x30cm web

Follow your curiosity

Being the TED fan that I am, and curious about creativity, courage and change, I discovered Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Love, Pray) talking about “Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating” in 2014.

I read her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear in September 2015 as soon as it was published. It was named best book of the year on Brainpickings (another great place for inspiration!)

An artist's leap of faith by Steph Fonteyn

I loved Big Magic. It resonated. There were parallels between Big Magic and my TEDx talk “an artist’s leap of faith” delivered at TEDxZurichWomen in May 2015.

Today my friend (Simone) posted an image on Facebook about Gilbert’s “Not this” concept. The bells were ringing again!

I remember the “Not this” feeling, so well. It was in my core for many years.  I was a pessimist. A really good one, I must admit. So much so, that eventually i was diagnosed with depression.

In 2009, I was in a stagnant place, burnt out and too scared to change my life for fear of the unknown. Like many, I preferred to stay attached to the familiar even though it felt very wrong. Personally, I had to hit rock bottom in order to find the courage and motivation to rebuild myself, change my life and make my dreams a reality.

Stephanie FonteynThe “what next” was obvious for me, confronting my fears was the biggest challenge. I had dreams of being an artist, but as an experienced un-empowered pessimist, i had become an expert at playing it safe, conforming, feeling guilty to put my need’s first, denial and self sacrifice. And dreams are not built on foundations of playing it safe!

For others, the “what next” is less obvious. Not everyone feels passionate about one thing. The good news is, according to Elizabeth Gilbert, you don’t need to be!

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about there being two types of people in the world; the jackhammers (passionate) and hummingbirds (cross-pollinators). In a nutshell, she invites the hummingbirds to follow their curiosity and to trust the process of discovery and creation.

So what next? Try Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity workshop on Udemy.

IMG_4323Believing is half the battle. Courage, resilience and perspiration is the other half. Expect a bumpy ride, with plenty surprises, lessons learned and stories to tell.

So, what’s stopping you from creating the life stories you’d be proud of? Whatever you are curious about… explore! The journey getting there might be one of a lifetime and even inspire the content for a book, a TED talk and spark others to take a leap of faith.

Down by the pool

Today’s daily painting is inspired by the poolside again. It must be the Florida vibe influencing me. I love the blues of the pools and what they represent; cooling down and relaxing.

I took this picture in 2008 whilst on holiday in a beautiful villa in Mallorca. I climbed up the tower of the renovated mill to look down at the pool and I couldn’t resist the view; the unusual perspective, the lighting and of course the model. Thank you, Francesca!

Down by the pool
Down by the pool, acrylic on cardboard, 31cm x 42.5cm, $200


Daily Painting

Are you experiencing an artist’s block? Or maybe you haven’t painted for a while and don’t know where to (re)start? Are you procrastinating instead of painting? Whatever it is, try Daily Painting.

I recently moved from Switzerland to Florida and haven’t painted for a while, like, 6 months.  It’s been so hectic handling the international move, as you can imagine. Now we have moved into our new home and most of the boxes are unpacked. It’s now time to get back into the flow of painting. But, how?

I tumbled across a great little art book in a local art store the other day called Daily Painting by Carol Marine. So I thought it would be a cool idea to try a painting a day for 30 days to get back into the swing of things and test out new subjects, colours, ideas from my new source of inspiration in Miami. Here is my first Miami-based Daily Painting:

“Pool-side nap”
Acrylic on cardboard
31cm x 42.5cm
Price $200.00


Welcome to Miami


Today we get the keys to our new place in Miami, Florida and here is a sneak preview of by new home-based art studio with plenty of light and view of the pool for inspiration.

Our belongings will be delivered next week and I am so excited to be settling in as quickly as possible so that I can begin painting again, as its been a while with the mammoth project of moving from Geneva, Switzerland to Miami, Florida with my family. Watch this space for more news…