Light and sense of place are key elements that inspire Ian Sheldon to paint. His subject is consequently varied, from the open spaces of his native prairie land, to the abandoned buildings of pioneer homesteads in the North American west, or the dramatic architecture of the cities where he has lived.
Ian was born in Edmonton in 1971, and was brought up in South Africa, Singapore and England. While studying for his first degree (BA Hons) at Cambridge University, England, Ian began to paint the historical architecture of the city. Since 1994 galleries have exhibited this work, and in 1998, Cambridge Contemporary Art, the city's leading commercial gallery, accepted his watercolours. The City of Oxford, sharing a similar architectural heritage, has become a recent focus, and his work has been shown by Objet d'Art in Woodstock, England since 1996. Ian makes frequent trips to Britain to pursue his architectural passion.
Ian is a self-taught artist, who believes that his true understanding of artistic self-expression will come best through his experimentation with various media over time. He believes that as he ages, the wisdom that he gains with experience will be powerfully reflected in his paintings. Ian now holds three degrees, including a MA in the Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, and a MSc from the University of Alberta. His studies in the natural sciences are reflected in some of his subject choices, but the learning experience has more importantly taught him about the significant influences in his life, and these are currently reflected in his most recent works.
In addition to the architectural watercolour studies, Ian has directed his interests to the Western Canadian wilderness. This has successfully combined his passion for the arts with his academic interest in the natural world. Many of his pieces demonstrate his strong spiritual connection and sense of place to the northern forests. These striking landscapes have been well received in Canada and overseas, earning him First Prize for Landscapes at the Alberta 2000 Winter Games Art Exposition. As an extension of the philosophical basis for his landscapes, Ian has recently turned to exploring people's connections to the land through the rural architectural landscape.
Ian is also an accomplished writer and illustrator with more than 30 books published by Lone Pine Publishing. His nature guides for North America now grace bookshelves across the continent, and many more are slated for the press. These include a guide for Ecuador, a voluntary project aiming to increase conservation awareness in Ecuador.