Steve Whitehead studied Visual Art at the University of Wales Aberystwyth under abstract painter David Tinker, whose teachings on colour, composition, and the history and technique of painting were a seminal influence. After graduating with an MA in the early 80's, Whitehead won a scholarship to study art conservation at the Courtauld Institute, but dropped out to pursue his painting practice. A part-time career in Fine Art education culminated in his leading the MA Painting course at the University of Hull (Scarborough campus). He now paints full time.
Whitehead’s subject matter is now principally involved with landscape and often features aspects of the moors, wolds and coast of North Yorkshire, where he resides. His style has echoes of Neo-Classical and Romantic painting of the 19th century as well as the influence of 20th century British and American Realists.
His process typically involves a thorough exploration of the landscape subject, making photographs and drawings over several visits at different times of day and under different weather conditions. A composition is then generated, which may be a composite or rearrangement of the elements of the subject. Sometimes watercolour studies are made before the painting is begun on canvas. The final painting starts with a drawing and sketchy underpainting that is then reworked and tightened over a period of weeks or months.