Sheila Beecham

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Sheila Beecham

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Artist’s Statement
I kicked off my second bronze sculpting career in 2013, this time inspired by the American Southwest of desert Arizona, where I have made my second home. After thirty years of being a ‘businesswoman’, I picked up from the successful sculpting career I had in the UK. There, as a British artist and designer, I learned every aspect of bronze casting, made my own bronzes from start to finish, and quickly built a national reputation, winning awards, having solo shows and selling over seventy pieces in a few short years.

By the end of 2015, I was a juried member of the American Women Artists, Arizona Art Alliance and Wickenburg Art Club. My work was on show in the American Women Artists 2015 Online Juried Show, the Mountain Oyster Club Art Show & Sale in Tucson, and the Glendale Arts Council 2015/16 Juried Show where I took first prize for sculpture. In 2016 I was also accepted as a juried member of the Women Artists of America and showing in the Society of Women Artists 2016 Exhibition at The Mall Galleries in London.

I create what inspires me and interpret it in a way that others will enjoy. There are so many things that inspire me that I don’t limit myself to any one particular subject or style. What matters is the strength, beauty and permanence of bronze. I want all my work to be unmistakably bronze, whatever patina or finish is used to bring out the character of the subject portrayed. And I’m always striving to capture a moment, an idea, an emotion for all time – captured forever in the eternal nature of bronze.

Some of my work contains strong references to the real world, particularly wildlife figures like ‘The Opportunist’ or ‘The Joy of Life’. In other work I am more interested in shapes and movement, like the dancers and ‘Lady Slipper Treats’. My Interactive sculptures allow you to change the work’s look by re-arranging the parts, like ‘The Guardian’ and ‘After a Hard Day’s Ride’. I also love the Tactile sculptures like ‘Pecan Puzzler’ and ‘Peanut Puzzler’ that you can reach out and touch, feel, and have fun with – take apart and put back together, wholly or just partly – like beautiful puzzles.

Sheila is a British artist who lives in Arizona, USA and Somerset, England. She started painting and drawing at an early age and qualified in Graphic Design at High Wycombe College of Art & Technology in England, winning the Hoover Award in 1969 for the Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year. Later, at St. Alban’s College of Art & Design, England, she took up sculpture and also learned all aspects of bronze casting, making over ninety pieces herself over a five-year period, 1978 – 1983, of which she sold over seventy.

In 1980 Sheila won First Prize in the Heredities Sculpture Award – a UK-wide competition for new talented sculptors. In 1981 Lloyds Bank chose one of her sculptures – ‘Horse’s Head’ – to use as a trophy in a national competition. In 1980 she held her first solo exhibition in Berkhamsted, England. Other exhibitions and shows followed and in 1982 two pieces were accepted in a Juried Show in Tubac, Arizona which led to her first solo US exhibition at the Tubac Center of the Arts.

In 1983, Sheila set up a UK-based business selling ranch holidays in the USA & Canada. For over 20 years she travelled all over the West working with guest ranches. With her husband she also ran a country house resort in Devon, England from the 1990s till 2006, then a holiday cottage business until 2012. In 2004, they bought land near Wickenburg, Arizona and built a home in the Arizona Sonoran Desert, high on a bluff overlooking the Hassayampa River (usually dry).

In 2013, now free of business commitments, Sheila was inspired to create a sculpture of her beautiful great-niece and great-nephew twins. This brought her back to her love of bronze sculpting, with the desert and the American Southwest her inspiration.m