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Stephen Lyman

1957 - 1996

  Stephen Lyman Portrait
  • Stephen Lyman was a painter, a photographer, a writer and most of all an explorer. Lyman's first limited edition print was published by the Greenwich Workshop in 1983. His work included paintings, sketches and photographs made during more than 35 trips into California's Yosemite National Park, Alaska's Denali National Park, Oregon's Willamette Valley, the Canadian Rockies and Northern Idaho.
  • His life was motivated by great naturalists such as John Muir and he would often spend an entire month alone in the wilderness seeking inspiration for his work. Lyman's publisher, Greenwich Workshop, states: "John Muir, one of the world's most important naturalists and conservation writers, was an important influence in Lyman's life. Many contend that Lyman did with art what Muir did with words. They considered the artist to be the living personification of Muir. For both men, the great outdoors were pure, sanctified places - their special 'cathedrals' providing spiritual renewal."
  • Taking a break from art school in Pasadena, he read Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra and made his first backpacking trip in Yosemite. He spent several months after graduating from art school researching the life and work of Muir, starting with Linnie Marsh Wolfe's Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir. Lyman started his career as a commercial illustrator in Los Angeles but soon realized that the call of the wild was stronger than the lure of the city. Returning to his home state of Idaho, he spent years exploring and developing his own style of painting. He continued to discover the wonders of the natural world and of living a natural lifestyle.
  • Stephen Lyman said, "John Muir wrote, 'Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.' I know exactly what he meant. All my paintings have their origins in my experience and perception of beauty in the wilderness."
  • Stephen Lyman wrote, "I want to make my images timeless and ageless, to portray the depth of wisdom and longevity the wilderness possesses. It's constantly being reborn. I'm adopting Muir's language of the earth as alive, to be treated with respect and love, not as a material resource or something for us to conquer."
  • "I think of Steve [Lyman] as the other John Muir." - Bev Doolittle, wildlife artist.
  • Stephen Lyman died on April 17, 1996 at the age of 38 while rock climbing in the Cathedral Rock area of Yosemite National Park, one of his favorite places to paint.
  • Into the Wilderness by Stephen Lyman Book CoverFor more about Stephen Lyman, his quest to involve in people an appreciation for the beauty of wilderness, and his affinity for his spiritual mentor John Muir, see Lyman's magnificent book of paintings and photographs, with text by Mark Mardon, Into the Wilderness: an Artist's Journey (New York: Greenwich Workshop, 1995).

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