Clark Sheppard, artist, with some of his many paintings (Courtesy/ VG)
Clark Sheppard, a painter of vibrant southwestern landscapes, will be the featured artist at the Village Gallery of Local Artists for the month of December 2023.
A reception will be held on Friday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. to showcase his work. Sheppard will be present to discuss his paintings and explain his process. Refreshments will be served.
Sheppard paints with acrylics on canvas to create breathtaking Southwestern scenes. His work features distinctly patterned skies and abstract characteristics, to evoke the magical beauty and natural freedom of Sedona and the American Southwest.
“When I see an image I like, I paint it. Whatever feels good to me at the time,” he explains. Sheppard’s intuition guides him in selecting the palette, which often includes fluorescent colors. The result is a glowing 3D effect that makes Sheppard’s work instantly recognizable. Often, when collectors first see his display at The Village Gallery, their first reaction is an awed silence, as they take in both his virtuosic use of color and the expansive way in which Sheppard incorporates the details of the Sedona landscape.
He is passionate about his process, but none of Sheppard’s pieces arrive without an honest creative struggle. “They’re all a challenge. Some, I have to ‘paint out’ with titanium white and start again, and sometimes again. It’s a constant challenge to me. Each painting has its own. I’m always learning.”
Sheppard began painting in 1990 while still living in New Jersey, then retired to Sedona in 2004 to pursue it full-time. He found the early professional pursuit of creating and selling art was often slow and frustrating, leading Sheppard to a five-year break from painting. However, a psychic reading with James Milanese at Sedona’s Center for New Age rekindled his passion for art. During that reading, Milanese told Sheppard three different times that he needed to start painting again. At the third mention, Milanese revealed that he saw a vision of Sheppard’s Navajo spirit guide, standing behind the artist and shaking his head “yes” when Milanese told him to start painting again.
A key opportunity arrived in 2016, when Sheppard licensed his first oil painting, “Creekside Cathedral,” to Warner Bros. Then, in early 2019, twelve of his original artworks were selected for the “American Contemporary Art Show,” a sold-out exhibition to private collectors, held in Guangzhou, China. By the end of 2019, after taking an acrylics workshop at the Sedona Arts Center, Sheppard had developed his own technique that he has since coined “Vivid, Mystical Landscapes.”
Sheppard’s father was a freelance artist and a member of the team that drew and animated Betty Boop. But aside from lending creative genes and natural talent, his father never pushed him toward the field of art and never taught him any particulars about the craft. Sheppard is largely self-taught, honing his process through the guidance of his mentor, the traditional figurative painter Gordon Haas, who authored the book “No, I’m Not Starving.”
The Village Gallery is located at 6512 State Route 179 in the Village of Oak Creek and is always accepting applications for unique art and new membership. For more information, go to SedonaLocalArtists.com or phone 928-284-1416.