Joseph Maxwell Stuart favours painting outdoors over a studio setting, initially aiming to find a subject he can visualise in terms of paint. This is an essential part of his method, which also involves repeatedly returning to a location as he works on a composition. Stewart paints primarily in oils due to their versatility; less fragile than watercolours when painting outdoors in the winter months and more forgiving when making amendments.
His works display larger, simpler blocks of tone and colour overlain with shifting light; a view often enlivened further with the addition of figurative interest. Describing his work as realistic, atmospheric and relaxed, Stewart considers the key is ultimately to keep painting, regardless of the weather or mood; to persevere and keep going with it. “When I am painting I get lost in the myriad mental processes required, almost akin to playing a game of chess. I am totally immersed in the challenge of gaining the best possible result.”