Artist's work includes Tallassee landmarks
By Michael Butler
Some of Iain Stewart's watercolors have surfaced on Tallasseean's Facebook pages. The Benjamin Fitzpatrick Bridge and Tallapoosa River scene are among Stewart's renderings.
"My family moved to Auburn when I was in third grade. I've spent a lot of time in and around this area and Tallassee holds a real affinity for me both in it's grand scale in regard to the bridges and power plant, but also its history," Stewart said. "In college I spent many hours kayaking on the Tallapoosa below the dam and even lost a boat at flood stage when I had to bail out above a particularly nasty rapid. I was fine and swam to my car and the boat was later found about 20 feet up in a tree. I never found my paddle. I was also a regular at the Hotel Talisi for those fantastic lunches."
Stewart, who is originally from Scotland, moved to the United States at an early age. He and his wife Noelle currently live in Opelika.
"When the weather is nice I do as much painting outdoors as I can. I am an architectural illustrator in watercolor by trade, but have added teaching (both collegiate and workshops) and fine art over the last four years."
Stewart received his degree in Architecture from Auburn University and did do some design work for a few years.
"I found myself drawn to the presentation side of design work more and more and finally took a job working as an in-house illustrator for one of the larger firms in Washington, DC. After working in the corporate world for a while I decided to go out on my own and have been a freelance illustrator for the last 11 years."
Stewart works for firms all over the country and abroad. He was recently awarded second place in the New York Society of Renderers Portfolio competition and will be featured in their upcoming book due out in November.
"That was a nice honor to receive and it's always good to receive an award by your peers. I still get clients who ask me where on earth Opelika is and have heard it pronounced more ways than I can remember."
Stewart teaches Watercolor in Architecture and Design Drawing at Auburn’s Architecture Department. he also teaches workshops nationally.
"If I were to choose just one career I would have to go with fine art. It allows me the most creative expression and my boss is a swell guy," Stewart said. "Teaching is a close second to that. I find teaching to be extremely satisfying and, in most instances, find that by showing others what I do only reinforces those convictions in myself. Since 2010 I've taught, demonstrated and exhibited in Germany, Turkey, France, Scotland, Canada, Thailand, Belgium, Russia and China."
Even with his world travels, Stewart is partial to Tallassee. "The river is a place that is very close to my heart. At low flow it can be extremely peaceful and you can chat with fishermen and watch birds and other wildlife. At higher flows its character changes dramatically and you really get a feel for the power behind the dam. It's one of my favorite places in Alabama."
Stewart is slated to be one of the featured artists at the Tallassee Now! event in June. For more information on Stewart or to view his work, visit his website.