Mesa resident Darrell Sheppard had a life-long talent for drawing; he dabbled with painting over the years -- exploring subject matter "such as animals, cowboys and bad portraits of my grandkids, until my wife said: 'Just pick one thing and try to get good at it.'" After retiring eight years ago Sheppard focussed his brush on the Desert Southwest - describing the landscapes that compell him as "the most stunningly, gloriously beautiful place I've ever been."
"I paint in acrylics. I used to be one of those people who thought that oil painting was somehow intrinsically superior...until I saw what people like Bud Heiss could do with acrylic." For an invitation to be Darrell's guest at his meet-the-artist reception October 23 from 1-4pm, click any of his four images on this page - print the invitation, and bring it along. To contact the artist about sales or commissions please call 480-641-8797 or email Darrell
See more of his paintings at
Sheppard found a teacher, mentor and role model acclaimed Gilbert landscape artist Bud Heiss.
"Bud also reccomended the book on art theory by Daniel Chard, where he writes that in order to really paint landscapes well, you have to get out and walk around in it. And I thought, "Well, heck! I've been stumbling around in Arizona for almost half a century!" I know about the smell of creosote after it rains, and what it's like to fall down on cholla, and that ancient electric thrill when a rattler buzzes in the bush next to your leg...but most of all, I love the light. Our clear, perfect, clean light - at any time of day - that deserves homage." Sheppard's use of form and composition are inspired by Arizona's jagged rock, stupendous clouds, panoramic vistas.
"I've lived in the Valley since 1971, when my family moved here from West Virginia, but we're really all from Montana and Idaho. My first inspiration was Montana artist Charlie Russell, and i've always liked a quote of his and Charlie described his talent as God-given; saying that he deserved neither credit nor blame."
" I can't NOT draw. I can draw anything; it's easy, and it looks like the thing it's supposed to be. But painting is a whole different subject; it's hard. If I paint a mountain, I want you to know it's a mountain, and maybe even which one. But I also want you to see how beautiful it is, the same way I saw it, and maybe stop and look at the painting and just feel good." I've had some nice people say they thought a painting of mine was a photo. Well, that's meant as a compliment. But I don't want to paint photographically...I want to make a competent impression of a place and the light right then. It makes me feel good if other people like it, too.
"I'm a desert rat now, for sure. I started hiking and hunting in Arizona in the 1970s, mostly in Central Arizona. I met my wife Jenny in New York, and we've made our lives and family here. Our kids are educators in the East Valley, and our three grandkids are right here nearby, handy for hugs!"
"See more of Darrell's art displayed online viaFine Art America; Mesa Auto Works also brightens customer's days with paintings in the reception and waiting room of the business.
During October his art works may be seen in the visitors' center gallery daily from 8:00 am - 5:00 PM during Arboretum daily business hours. Arboretum non-members pay daily admission of $10 for adults and $5 for ages 5-12. To contact the artist about sales or commissions please call 480-641-8797 or email Darrell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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