Something you may not know about Stephen's work is that he loves to put hidden surprises in many of his paintings. Sort of like Easter eggs in movies (Movie Easter eggs are hidden references, clues or inside jokes that have been inconspicuously placed into TV shows, video games, and movies—a creator's secret love letter to their fans.)
Some of Stephen's Easter eggs are more obvious than others. My favorite, are the little ones that you wouldn't notice unless you spent some time looking over the painting, almost inch by inch.
As an example, take a look at one of his most famous, "Stikes Holler." Have you ever noticed the hunter in the woods? Click the image to enlarge for a closer look.
Don't see him? How about here....
How about his "Tuckerdale Church" painting - there's actually quite a few Easter Eggs in this one. Can you spot the fox and the owl? Have you ever noticed the 3 ornaments in the tree leaning against the wagon? They have special meaning regarding a tragic event that happened in Ashe County at the time he was painting this one. Ask Stephen about it next time you see him.
I admit, the fox is a hard one to spot, look on the right, under the Fraser fir.
And here's the owl in the tree...
Okay, one last example - this is an easy one. Can you find the startled deer in "Crossroads"?
You may have spotted the deer, but what about the fox in the rock crevice?
Now that your eyes have been opened, I bet you'll be looking for Easter eggs in every one of Stephen's paintings. If you spot them, tell Stephen you found them—you'll make his day!