warmth, whimsy and meaningful ARAH SHEFFIELD is an artist and painter with
strong personal and professional connections to
Wrightsville Beach. Her parents-in-law were the
original owners at The Islander condominiums in
the early 1970s.
“I’ve spent many wonderful hours walking the
beach from north to south,” Sheffield explains.
“Now I collect local shells and wrap them in copper wire for pendants.
For several years I participated in the Wrightsville Beach Museum of
History plein air events and painted landmarks like Roberts Grocery. I
especially like sketching and painting water or marsh scenes along the
sound. My husband and I sometimes anchor our boat in quiet places to
photograph and sketch, looking from the water toward the land.”
Though Sheffield is at home in southeastern North Carolina, she has
lived in many places and thrived in a wide range of positions — from
running a graphic design business to completing freelance calligraphy
and working in arts administration. This diversity of experience and
enthusiasm for constant evolution is reflected in her artwork. While she
works most frequently with oil paints and metals, Sheffield’s repertoire
is varied and dynamic.
Sheffield often works in series, focusing on one piece at a time, and
exploring a wide breadth of subject matter. This is partly due to the
relationship she sees between education and art-making. As she puts it,
“I’ve never been able to restrict myself to one subject matter or theme
because, for me, painting is a way to explore and connect with the
world. When I draw or paint something, I understand it better.”
Several of the pieces from Sheffield’s “Home and Hearth” series are
composed of oil paint on copper sheets. Utilizing metals as a surface
for painted compositions is one of many ways that she integrates the
two materials, while also experimenting with inks, patinas, torch heat,
etching and wire wrapping. An interest she acquired early in life has
motivated these practices.
“I fell in love with copper as a child when my mother gave me a cop-per
necklace,” Sheffield explains. “I first started painting oils on copper
Sarah Sheffield in her gallery on North Fourth Street.
WBM january 2019