Lee Shelton was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1971 while his Father was stationed there with the Canadian Armed Forces. The family relocated to Ontario when he was six years old. It was at that early age that he picked up a pencil and began sketching, inspired by his animator Uncle who proved to be very influential. Early forays into nearby woodlots and family camping trips captured his imagination and forged a life long fascination with wilderness landscapes.
“The endless visual catalogue that Ontario offers is an artist’s greatest muse as many local artists can attest. The natural world around me has influenced my art from my very first walk in the woods.”
By the time he reached University Lee already possessed a considerable grasp of art fundamentals and a formal education in fine art from Western, Ontario helped to open his eyes to other philosophies, media and techniques. At this stage in life he discovered the lost art of glass carving and the unique way it could offer both the compositional characteristics of 2 dimensional media and the sculptured form of bas-relief.
“I am very captivated by how glass carving relies on the gradations of light and shadow to capture a landscape as it is monochromatic in nature. The challenge for me is to create a mood and transport the viewer to an early morning twilight by subtly manipulating the pressure at which the glass is carved.”
Although glass is a beautiful medium to work with it is very unforgiving.
“There is simply no eraser for glass. You just can’t add more paint to cover up an undesired execution. Once you are committed to your design, tremendous focus and painstaking technique must be employed to achieve success. “
My process and inspiration:
Upon seeing stained glass for the first time I fell in love with its dark and light striations. The hand created variegations in each sheet capture that energy and movement which harmonize beautifully with my windswept landscapes. As each sheet is so unique my initial design stage is to stare at the glass and let the landscape reveal itself…..tantamount to one staring at the clouds and seeing the images within.
By using a sandblasting process I am able to wear down the glass to unveil layers of colour to compliment and echo my windswept imagery. The image itself remains raised out from the background, able to capture highlight and shadow through its contours.
This unique process and the handmade glass couple to create truly one of a kind pieces.
My work can be found year round at Eclipse Gallery in Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville.