Millard Sheets Essay

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Millard Sheets once said, “your painting is a measure of your mind.” Sheets, together with the small group of painters he worked with in California during the 1930’s and 40’s, developed a new style of watercolor painting that was the leader of the entire movement of American watercolor during this time. He exerted a continuing influence on future generations of Western painters. These generations of painters gave birth to a future generation of painters that became the California Regionalist School. He is one of the founding members of the “California Scene Painters.” Millard Sheets’ works are mostly landscapes inspired by California and his travels around the world. In the Los Angeles area, he was recognized as the leading figure and force for the California Style watercolor movement. Sheets was born in Pomona, California on June 24, 1907. He grew up on a ranch with his maternal grandparents and developed a love of land and horses that influenced his paintings recurrently. From this, he became a passionate observer of the natural world, and his paintings “often pulse with the tempestuous energy of horses, the balletic postures of tree trunks and the moody beauty of stormy skies.” Also in childhood, two of his maternal aunts encouraged him to use crayons and pencils. He took his very first drawing lesson when he was seven years old. By 1919, Sheets submitted pieces of art to the copy divisions of the Los Angeles County Fair fine arts show competition. Through this competition, as he won first prize in his division, he met Theodore B. Modra, a Polish artist retired in the area. Modra lectured Sheets on copying art, since Sheets had submitted a drawing he had copied from a photograph, and gave him art lessons. As Sheets remained hi... ... middle of paper ... ... say that “he translated the unfamiliar into an accessible, picturesque language of rhythms, color and pattern.” In 1968, Sheets proposed the murals he designed for the Los Angeles City Hall. When his design was approved, he was awarded a commission to complete The Family of Man murals over the two main entrances of City Hall. He also designed mosaics and murals for the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the Library at Notre Dame University, the Scottish Rite masonic Temple in Los Angeles, several Home Savings and Loan Association buildings in the Los Angeles area, the Detroit Public Library, and the Dome of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Millard Sheets was a member of the National Watercolor Society, the American Watercolor Society, the National Academy of Design, the Society of Motion Picture Art Directors, and the Century Association.

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