Sheila knew that she was an artist at a very young age and recognized her ability as a gift and a calling from God. Her life-long journey in art began as a young girl who taught herself to paint by studying and copying the paintings of the old masters. She grew up in Brockville, Ontario and at age fourteen studied drawing under artist Mario Airomi, with whom her desire to become a professional artist was inspired and encouraged.
For the past thirty-plus years, Sheila’s focus has been on expressing her love of nature on canvas. Her acrylic paintings capture the strength and beauty found in creation through dramatic composition with a soft life-like quality that draws the viewer in. Her skill and versatility as an artist are demonstrated in the many and often unexpected subjects she portrays which often convey a message of hope. She also enjoys working in mixed media and sculpture but her true love is for painting.
Sheila’s artwork has received numerous awards and has gained international recognition in the world of wildlife art. Her paintings have been featured by many conservation organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited Canada and Artists for Conservation(AFC). Since her first show in 1982, Sheila continues to exhibit her art in many shows across Canada and beyond and is a perennial exhibitor at the prestigious Buckhorn Fine Art Festival (formerly the Buckhorn Wildlife Art Festival) located in Buckhorn, Ontario.
Her work can be found in many private and corporate collections around the world. In 2003 Sheila was the featured artist for the WPBS TV Art Auction in Watertown New York, where “Natural Instincts”, a half-hour documentary about Sheila and her career as an artist was produced and aired. One of her paintings, “Bountiful Beauty” set an overbid record.
From 2008 to 2014 Sheila and her husband George Hurst, ran their art galleries “Inspirations Art Gallery” and then “White Flag Gallery” in Brockville, Ontario. Both enjoyed creating and exhibiting their work alongside each other. After George’s sudden death in 2014, Sheila decided to close the gallery and for the first time in her life was unable to paint for well over a year. With much support from her family and friends and her deep faith in God, she was able to return to her easel. She now lives and paints in her studio, in the village of Lyn, Ontario.
Knowing now how fragile we are and how quickly our lives can change, has profoundly altered the direction of Sheila’s creativity. She feels that there is much more to be revealed within her art and hopes that it will reflect the joy of embracing each new day with thanksgiving. Her journey as an artist began at age twelve with her first set of oil paints and continues to this day.
“Painting is my intimate time with God, a time of worship and a time of great peace.” ~ Sheila Ballantyne