(1958 - 2011)
Sheila A. Rieman was active/lived in North Dakota, Minnesota. Sheila Rieman is known for animals, landscape, and cowboy genre painting.
Biography from the Archives of askART
The following obituary is from The Bismarck Tribune, November 21, 2011:
Biography from the Archives of askART
"Sentinel Butte artist Sheila Rieman killed in collision with deer" by Lauren Donovan
Color faded in the art world Thursday with the death of a nationally famous artist who lived in a small white house in Sentinel Butte.
Sheila Rieman, 53, died after a deer strike caused her car to crash into the end of a guard rail about 30 miles east of Billings, Mont., where she was to attend the opening of a gallery show featuring some of her work.
Rieman and Pete Novotny, a horse farrier and her companion of 30 years, moved to Sentinel Butte seven years ago. They built a studio and horse barn about halfway to Medora, in the pinks and tans of Badlands country where she escaped to paint, and they raised horses.
The Billings' Gallery Interiors was among a half-dozen that represented Rieman's art. Gallery owner Joe Booth said the artist had earned a national reputation for pastels and oils rendered with superior draftsmanship in bright vibrant color.
"She was highly regarded among art circles. Everybody knew who she was," Booth said.
There was Rieman the artist, a Western realist who occasionally dabbled in abstracts, winner of awards, including from the Pastel Society of America in New York City and Artist's Choice at the C.M. Russell Art Auction in Cody, Wyo.
She made the idea of color stand on its head, horses painted in tones of lime green with blue tails because she was colorizing the way the light reflected around and on the horse, not the horse itself.
"You could look at those colors, like a cerulean blue to create the idea of moonlight, and you couldn't say they were wrong. She could see things with such clarity," Booth said.
Rieman's friend and fellow artist, Connie Herberg of Shepherd, Mont., said Rieman frequently taught other artists about color theory and color temperature and in so doing, constantly re-evaluated her own work.
She said Rieman switched from pastels, with that medium's array of hundreds of colors, to oils, where fewer base colors force the painter to invent color by mixing.
"She didn't lose anything, her core was so good. She just knew art better than nearly any artist out there," Herberg said.
Then, there was Rieman, the woman and friend.
"She was like a farm girl, no pretensions whatsoever," Booth said.
Herberg said Rieman had as many friends as she had colors in her palette, but each was made to feel special.
Novotny said he plans to retrieve the 150 or so paintings of Rieman's in various galleries and perhaps hold a retrospective show of her work.
He said she had days when she turned out a piece or two, and pieces that would take a week.
Some took much longer and when she was frustrated by the conclusion, she learned to look at the piece sideways until the ending came to her, rather than keep working at it and wreck it, he said.
"Once a year, she'd have a big burning party. I'd ask her, 'What's wrong with it?' and she's just say, 'I don't like it,'" Novotny said.
He said she was happiest riding her horse, Bubba, and painting outside with her friends.
"That's what got us together. We liked riding in the Badlands," he said.
He knew Rieman as the go-to color woman, who was always consulted when a kitchen or house needed painting because she knew what would happen to color in bright sunlight, or when it was paired with another color.
"Color was her thing," he said.
His favorite story about her art was one she often retold, and it's one about the color pink.
An elderly couple were looking at one of her pieces at an art show in west Texas.
The woman said she'd never seen pink deer before and her husband patiently explained that the pink was meant to reflect the light, just before the sun goes down.
Still, the woman persisted, she'd just never seen a pink deer.
His answer was one Rieman treasured and maybe was inspired by when she picked up chalk or a brush ever after: "Yeah, but don't you wish you had?"
A memorial service will be held for Rieman at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Sentinel Butte Community Hall.
Submitted by Sara Walsh, a former gallery owner representing Sheila Reiman.
To her associates Walsh sent out this message: "It is with a heavy heart that we note the death of Sheila Rieman. She died on Thursday evening, Nov. 17th in a single-vehicle accident on I-94 east of Billings, on her way to an art opening at her gallery there. She hit a deer, & then the guard rail, which came through her car. She died on the scene. She was only 53.
She was our very dear friend, our colleague, and an artist of extraordinary talent. We have had the privilege of knowing and representing her since 1992, and she had become a sister. She was able to see the beauty in reality, whether in an animal or a landscape, and share that special vision with us. The depth of her talent will live on in her paintings, but we will miss her so, so much -- her innate goodness, her irrepressible sense of humor, her kindness, and her down-to-earth realness. Gone too soon, and leaving such a huge hole in our hearts and our lives."
Born in Minnesota, Sheila Rieman grew up in rural North Dakota and studied art at North Dakota State University and with master pastelist Albert Handell. From 1980, she has been dedicated to that medium, although she works in other mediums as well.
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Rieman works in her studio, which is an early 1900s schoolhouse in Leonard, North Dakota.
Rieman is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, the American Academy of Women Artists, the Midwest Pastel Society, and the Pastel Society of New Mexico.
Commissioned to create the poster image for Equine Affaire Horse Exposition in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002, Rieman was also a cover artist and featured in the Pastel Page of American Artist Magazine. She had a solo show at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, N.D. in 2003.
Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, 2003
Addendum: May 2006:
In 2004 the artist moved her studio to Sentinel Butte, North Dakota.
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