Stephen Bach drives to the middle of downtown Winter Park, Florida, when he wants to paint his favorite spot. He sets up right along Park Avenue and waits until it gets dark. Bach paints night scenes of his hometown.
“Cathedral Spires,” by Stephen Bach, 2011, oil on Masonite, 8 x 10 in.
“I am intrigued by the small-town feel late at night,” he says. “The streets are vacant, and although the storefronts are lit, there is a sense of solitude. I try to convey that.” Bach says even his traditional daylight rural landscapes have a sense of solitude about them, which either explains why his night scenes have it, too — or explains why he likes to paint night scenes. “Nothing is going on, you could lay down in the middle of the street and never be touched in an area that is very busy during the day,” he says.
“Night on Park Avenue,” by Stephen Bach, 2011, oil, 9 x 12 in.
Bach isn’t known for his night scenes; galleries carry his large rural landscapes. But night scenes are what he loves to paint. He hasn’t been painting at night very long; the artist says he just sort of fell into it. Bach works in a group studio, and four or five other artists at the studio like to paint at night. He started tagging along — and then he was hooked.
Bach’s setup for the painting “Post Office Trucks”
“Post Office Trucks,” by Stephen Bach, 2013, oil, 9 x 12 in.
“The police are used to seeing a few of us painters work late in the night,” he says. “They don’t bother to stop when they see an easel set up — sometimes with lights plugged into a city lamppost.”
“Eleven PM,” by Stephen Bach, 2012, oil, 12 x 16 in.
A feature article on Bach, centering on his night scenes, will appear in an upcoming issue of PleinAir magazine.