S t e v e n   G a r n e r
the art of English village cricket

Born 1957 Broomfield Essex, since 1979 I have been a full time artist and illustrator working largely in the commercial sector. Since 2008 I have specialised in painting English village cricket scenes in watercolour. I am completely self taught.

At the age of 12 I cycled three miles to play for my local village side in a colts cricket match at the wonderfully named Chignal Smealey. Despite being so near to my home I hadn`t ventured down the narrow lane that leads past the ground before. What I saw that day made a lasting impression on me. Virtually surrounded by trees with a little wooden pavilion nestling under a giant horse chestnut tree, plus an undulating outfield topped off with the church opposite the ground, it was the embodiment of the perfect English village cricket ground. The ball made a noise all its own when it came off the bat as the sound echoed around the trees.

I was lucky to play at a number of superb village grounds in my 30 year playing career, and as middle age beckoned and my bowling arm got lower, it was through painting that my love of the game continued. I am attracted by the fact that given ideal conditions the players almost seem to become part of the landscape itself.

Some of my pictures are based on real scenes, particularly when I am doing a commission, but some are imagined. Even Constable moved things around occasionally to achieve the right balance in a picture. I am a firm believer in the old maxim “rather an interesting painting than an accurate one”.

In 2001 I was lucky enough to build my own studio at the bottom of my garden on Mersea Island off the North Essex coast.

Art studio summer, Mersea, Essex
My studio, great in summer...
Art studio winter, Mersea, Essex
...more challenging in winter