Sheila Mather lives near the charming coastal town of Sidney on Vancouver Island. Her light-filled studio is surrounded by the trees, birds and wildlife which inspire many of her paintings.
Her early days were spent in Vancouver running her own design and illustration company. A move to the Island in 2000 brought with it a slower pace of living and an opportunity to turn to painting full-time. For over 10 years she painted with pastels, winning several prestigious awards and achieving Master Pastellist designation.
Her current work involves painting on and with gold leaf. Once she had mastered the art of gilding she began to explore how the medium could be manipulated. She paints on the leaf, applying the paint traditionally and also lifting it off to create highlights, and her gilded backgrounds are as important to her paintings as the images themselves. By layering the leaf, employing a variety of techniques to build texture and depth, and combining different colours of leaf she creates beautiful and unique work which pushes the boundaries of traditional gilding.
‘The work of being an artist never ends – it is both a challenge and a passion, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.’
As an artist I’ve learned to observe the world in a different way – as light and shadow and colour and form – and I’ve become more keenly aware of the beauty that surrounds me.
I enjoy experimenting with different media and techniques, always with an eye to strong composition. The creative possibilities are an endless source of joy to me, and I try to communicate that joy through my work.
Sheila is represented exclusively on Salt Spring Island at Gallery 8 and Coast Gallery.