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Marin's Natural Beauty
Portrayed by Stephen Ehret

By Adelina, 08-06-2019

Interviewing Stephen Ehret was a special experience for me. In order to see where he lives, my husband and I were taken by skiff from the Sausalito docks to a white pyramid-shaped houseboat on the bay.

"Liquid Flame"

Courtesy: Stephen Ehret

On our way there, Mt.Tamalpais stood proudly on our port side and the San Francisco city skyline was on the starboard side. The breeze was mild and waves were calm except for gentle splashes created by the boat. The sun was so comfortable that a harem of sunbathing seals on an anchored raft barely lifted their heads while we passed not more than 20 feet from them. These and other such picturesque scenes have been portrayed by Stephen and form the main themes in his paintings over the past 30 years. Once we sat down with Stephen inside the cozy “pyramid”, his personal journey was revealed through our conversations.

"Mt. Tamalpais from San Rafael Ridge"

Courtesy: Stephen Ehret 

Awakening (Dawn from the Peak of Mt. Tamalpais)

Courtesy: Stephen Ehret

After graduating from the California College of Arts and Crafts, he moved from the East Bay to Sausalito, Marin County living in a houseboat ever since. The surrounding water, clouds, and mountains have been a source of inspiration for Stephen. He paints from his houseboat or bikes to places to take photos and paint the scenery. The landscapes he paints include the Marin Headlands, Richardson Bay, Point San Quentin, Olema Pasture, San Rafael Ridge, and others. His series of Mt. Tamalpais landscapes, in particular from its peak, are especially breathtaking. Stephen said that sometimes he collaborates with other artists, such as Cynthia Franco; some of the Mt. Tamalpais series resulted from their collaboration. 

Early Morning Rain

Courtesy: Stephen Ehret

Water has also been a major theme in his paintings, perhaps because his home is literally surrounded by water. He tends to portray the movement of water to convey his feelings combined with the subtle play of light and color across its surface. This has made him a true master of capturing the complexity of waves as seen through the “luminous quality of natural light” -- a technique he developed. His “Early Morning Rain”, for example, has won him 1st Place at the Marin County Fair 2013. Stephen says the circular, overlapping ripples created by raindrops falling on waves were a reflection of his emotions at the time.

His recent piece, "The Opening" was Stephen’s exploration in drawing with graphite and expresses the desire to free ourselves from the metaphorical, self-imposed brick prison that we create around ourselves and let in the light awareness. This drawing won 1st place in Drawing at the 2019 Marin County Fair. 

(Courtesy:  Stephen Ehret)

In addition to painting and drawing, Stephen is a prolific songwriter and regularly performs around the Bay Area. In the past, he performed at concerts in conjunction with The Grateful Dead and other well-known bands. Currently, he performs with another artist, Hines, in the band The Nother Mother Brothers (for more information, here is the link http://www.nothermotherbrothers.com/).

Stephen is a very kind and gentle man and it was a sincere pleasure for both myself and my husband to meet him. We thank Stephen for showing us his sacred shrine -- his Sausalito Bay houseboat -- and his journey as an artist and songwriter. 

View Stephen's Website