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Artist Millard Sheets' spirit lives on

  • Millard Sheets, painter, Gualala

Renowned California watercolor and oil painter Millard Sheets died in 1989, but his work, and its influence, remain as vibrant and alive as ever.

And nowhere is the artist's spirit more powerful than at the oceanfront compound built in 1960 by Sheets and his wife, Mary, on a Mendocino County property overlooking Fish Rock Island.

The loud, hoarse call of sea lions from their colony on the island and its unnamed sister island prompted Mary to name the home "Barking Rocks."

The estate is now home to artist Susan Routledge Jackson, who signs her work Susan Routledge, and her husband, Frank Jackson.

For the month of December, Routledge invited six other artists to join her in an exhibition of paintings and sculptures titled "As We See It: Seven Unique Views."

The show also includes some examples of Millard Sheets' work. It runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Tuesday (Dec. 31) in Sheets' former gallery and studio at 34800 Highway 1, just north of Anchor Bay Campground.

"The gallery is usually not open to the public," Routledge said, "but I was amazed how little local people knew about such an important artist in our area. I wanted people to know more about him."

Other artists included in the show are Diane Arenberg, Anna L. Edwards, Heidi Endemann, Jane Head, Lori Robinson and Tony Sheets, Millard Sheets' son.

Credited with developing an art style known as the California School of Watercolor, Millard Sheets was born in Pomona in 1907. He studied at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.

By the 1930s, he was becoming a prominent American artist, exhibiting his works in Paris, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.


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