Jacquelyn Stephens is a local contemporary artist whose work is inspired by a sublime of the small and examines the life forces inherent in all things microscopic, sub-atomic and aquatic. The key themes of her work are informed from her interest in water, nature, science, the environment and the domain of medicine.


Left: 'AQUEOUS BLOOM LIFE FIELD XV' Right: Work in Progress in Jaquelyn's studio.


Jacquelyn's studio is in a 1950’s building that feel like the set of ‘Madmen’ with 50’s timber walls, parquetry floor and amazing tiling in the entrance.

While experiencing Jacquelyn’s work, it is easy to get lost into the little worlds her paintings create. From childhood Jacquelyn formed a deep connection with the ocean. She grew up by the sea off the southern coast of Australia and now enjoys living and working near the coast in Melbourne. Jacquelyn works from her studio based in the Bayside Arts Precinct of Advantage Road in Highett. Her favourite way to begin a typical day painting in her studio, begins with a coffee and a quick walk along the foreshore at Sandringham from which she draws many aspects of her inspiration.

“I knew that there was something about the profound beauty of life and existence that was in the ocean above and below the surface. Something that was universal and worthy of sharing.”


Left: Photograph of coral taken by Jacquelyn on one of her morning walks. Right: Close up of 'BIO BLOOM-CEPHALOPOD MAGIC II'

Jacquelyn studied painting at the Victorian College of the Arts in the 1990’s and achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting with First Class Honours. Her artwork is enriched from her diverse experiences and fascinations with nature and science, including her previous studies in nursing and years of snorkelling around her locale at Flinders.
Her work investigates microscopic views, pulsating atoms, cell growth and amoebas. The exploration of bioluminescent organisms in her art gives Jacquelyn’s paintings an awe inspiring glow you can not look away from. Her obsession with the otherworldliness of underwater life transcends through her work, resulting in an immersive and mystical experience.

“In my process, I call upon nature itself to make the work. I engage random methods to allow the compositions in my paintings to grow organically using earth, air, water and fire to create the ovoid and cellular forms seen in the work. Because I work in many layers each painting could continue to grow forever so I have to just stop at a point where I know the painting is breathing and has its own life.”

Inspired by a wide range of influences, Jacquelyn considers herself indebted to the sublime atmospherics of romantic painters Casper David Fredrick and William Turner. You may often see their influence in her backgrounds. Colour, light and movement she learnt very early on from the Orphism of Sonia and Robert Delaunay, which is possibly where her use of the circles and ovoid’s started. More recently she is inspired by artists Bridget Riley, Victor Pasmore, Chuck Close, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Yayoi Kusama.


Jacquelyn’s paintings offer a magical adventure for the wanderlust viewer. Journeying into them certainly evokes the astonishment and appreciation of our world that Jacquelyn aims to achieve.

“I aim to trigger a sense of awe and wonder at nature and the miraculous building blocks of life. The images allude to microscopic and macroscopic forms to make connections to the fragile natural world.”

You can view all of Jacquelyn Stephens work here.