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Sheila Boyd Premieres Airbrushing on Quartzite at Sierra Art Trails

OAKHURST — Artists are creative. That’s a given. And the best of Madera County’s artists in all media forms display their works at Sierra Art Trails beginning Friday, October 1 through Sunday, October 3. The county-wide show continues the following weekend, Friday, October 8 through Sunday, October 10.

Sheila Boyd

Sheila Boyd, one of the artists featured during Sierra Art Trails, has been painting for years. In fact her first piece of art got her in serious trouble — at kindergarten age — after she painted a Crayola mural on her den wall. She’s moved on since then to airbrush, and her surfaces consist of anything from automotive subjects to huge canvases to herself. She recently demonstrated the art of airbrushed makeup at her gallery and says she does her own makeup daily that way. Her career was airbrushing murals on cars and motorcycles, and motorcycle leathers along with wall murals and fine art. She says, “I have also experimented with airbrushing on marble and granite, which is a bit more labor intensive than quartzite because of its slick surface that begs to be airbrushed in the finest detail.”

Coincidentally when Bodys by Boyd moved to a new, larger location, Sheila found the opportunity to “semi-retire” from automotive painting, and husband Jeff gave her a free hand to set up a gallery inside the business as a venue to both create and display her various forms of artwork.

About a month ago, Sheila discovered a new medium that has captivated her recent creative endeavors:  Airbrushing on quartzite.  She says she painted and sold her first piece on August 24.

Sheila says, “I was walking the dog and was mesmerized by the sparkle in our quartz pavers stacked up waiting for a project where we could use them. They had been stacked there for quite some time, so I picked through a few pieces and saw animal portraits emerge. As I rinsed them off, I noticed the beautiful minerals, layers, pyrite and texture, and decided I needed to airbrush using those as my substrate. It’s a fabulous stone to work on. Each shape dictated the design and spoke to me. The images of animals emerged in my mind, and I found references that fit the stone.”

The stones she uses are irregular shapes and, as she stated above, the configuration of the stone determines the animal who emerges. Among the many she has created so far are a lynx, wolf, bear, tiger and elephant. Once she determines the type of animal she wishes to paint, she searches her photographs or copyright-free media for a design that fits the shape. Planned for the future is a raven on stone.

Horse on Quartzite

She uses water-based automotive paint through her airbrush. Sheila says, “it adheres nicely to the rough surface, and I can spray in thin passes and build-up my details. I decided on the quartzite to stick with brown, black and white and the various shades using those three colors, and of course a bit of pink on the nose of some cats.” Once the art is completed, Sheila finishes it off with automotive clearcoat, backs it with felt and fits it to a stand because the stone is too heavy to hang on a wall.

While quartzite seems to consume Sheila’s artistic hours for now, she doesn’t limit herself in scope as to either subjects or media, working in addition on marble, canvas, leather or denim. She currently is drafting out a new tempera batik piece. She also does commissioned portraits of animals or people—or both together.

Photographs fail to display the nuances of these pieces. They must be viewed in person to fully appreciate the texture and the glitter.

Sheila takes advantage of the character of the quartzite to make the tiger “jump” out of the piece.

To see Sheila at work, visit her gallery during Sierra Art Trails. Follow the signs to Location No.  28, at her home gallery, Bodys by Boyd, 49643 Hartwell Road, Oakhurst. For further information contact her via her website or email or by phone at 559-760-5361.

Other artists exhibiting at Location No. 28 are Lura Schwarz Smith (oils), Kerby Smith (photography) and Patricia Allen (watercolor). They will exhibit both weekends. Tricia Nickerson (photography) exhibits the first weekend only. The second weekend also features Jennifer Moss (jewelry).

Sierra Art Trail catalogs, $20 each which admit 2 to each SAT location, are available through September 28 online, in person at Visit Yosemite Madera County, and at Stellar Gallery, 40892 Highway 41, Suite 1, Oakhurst.

For questions about Sierra Art Trails, call 559-658-8844.  See previous story here.

All photos courtesy of Sheila Boyd.

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