Sheila Rieman

Green Bison (soft pastel, 26×38) by Shiela Rieman was a finalist in the 2005 Art Competition (portrait and figure category).

How she got started creating art: ?I started drawing almost as soon as I was able to hold a pencil and have not stopped since. As a child I would draw from calendars, books and whatever else I could get my hands on. I was especially fond of the wildlife pictures that were on beer cans at that time (I guess that “dates” me, huh?). My fascination with animal forms was set pretty early in life. I attended North Dakota State University in Fargo as an art major (with minors in business and animal science), but left school before I graduated. I knew I wanted to be a professional fine artist, which accounted for my decision to study business as well as art.?

Creating art for a living: ?Art is my only income now. I?ve taught pastel workshops since 1997. I started doing commercial lettering work at the age of 13 and did enough freelance work during high school to support a horse as well as pay for much of my college education. So I?ve always been “self-employed,” even when holding other temporary jobs. It?s a control issue for me?I don?t like being told what to do.?

Artists she admires: ?There are so many it’s hard to name just a few. Degas, John Singer Sargent, Carolyn Anderson, Tom Gilleon, Albert Handell, Richard Schmid, come to mind first. In high school, I saw a pastel painting of a tree by Albert Handell on a magazine cover and it just took my breath away. I was so fortunate to be able to take a workshop with him many years later.?

Media and genres: ?I?ve primarily been a pastellist since 1980. It gives me the most satisfaction in terms of color control and tactile drawing quality. I do mostly landscape and animal subjects and occasionally still life and figurative. With my new studio, I also have the room and ventilation to revive my interest in oil painting.?

Inspiration for this painting: ?I do a lot of bison paintings as they?re readily accessible in nearby Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Bison intrigue me not only in terms of size and shape, but also their lack of strong color and pattern lends itself well to my own color interpretations. Since I set still lifes up under colored bulbs once in a while because it forces me to see things “in a different light,” I thought the same principle applied to this image would make it more interesting. It’s a challenge to create form realistically with “unrealistic” colors?I have to really focus on value, intensity and temperature for it to read correctly. Color is really my main subject in all my work.?

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