An Alfred Currier painting of the Skagit Valley Tulip Fields hung in their dining room in Denver. This painting was a reminder that someday they would leave Denver and relocate to the Skagit Valley.
Sheri Hunter had discovered Anacortes while training in Seattle in the early 1980’s. Her father shared her dream of living in Skagit Valley and when he retired he packed up and brought their sailboat to explore the surrounding waters.
Stephen and Sheri had the perfect excuse to see more of the area and would visit her parents every July. While visiting they would sail and camp around the San Juan Islands, into Canada, and eventually around Vancouver Island. These visits reinforced their desire to move to the Skagit Valley.
In 2012, Sheri retired from Kaiser Permanente, they sold their Colorado home and moved to Mount Vernon, Washington. They found a house in a friendly neighborhood with views of the Olympic Mountains and the Islands. Sheri planted a bountiful garden and soon became a Master Gardener. This led to writing horticultural articles for the Skagit Valley Herald and Washington State University. She also does lectures at libraries.
Stephen found tennis partners through the Skagit Valley Tennis Club. He joined Skagit Artists Together and set up his painting studio. Under the brilliant Colorado skies he had painted abstract works in bright and hardedge colors. His work evolved to a soft and muted palette to match the mysterious Northwest climate now surrounding him.
He volunteers at the Museum of Northwest Art as a tour leader for elementary school classes. The first exhibit he saw was so impressive he asked if it was being reviewed anywhere? The answer was a long pause, followed by an embarrassed, “No.” He sent a review to the Cascadia Weekly, a source of news on local events and art. It worked out so well they assigned him the Skagit Arts Beat.
It was the children on the MoNA tours, which taught Stephen how to look closely at works of art.
One year, he entered his photographs at the Arts in the Port, part of the Anacortes Arts Festival and all of them sold.
His photos and paintings have been shown in Mount Vernon, Burlington, Lynden, Anacortes, La Conner, Twisp, and Everett.