Fairfield artist, Rick Shaefer gave University students an inside look into his exhibit, “Rendering Nature” last Wednesday  at the Bellarmine Museum of Art.

Shaefer was inspired by a huge carcass left in the middle of the road after a storm in 2011. “It reminded me of a breached whale with its big eye,” said Shaefer about drawing the white oak.

“My first decision was to draw in charcoal [hoping that it would not smudge],” said Shaefer. In addition, precise linework techniques would allow Shaefer to capture immense details within these pieces.

Rhino, 2012, Charcoal on Vellum, Triptych (each panel 96″ x 48″– 96″ x 148″ overall)O For Shaefer’s piec entitled “Rhino,” Three 96” x 48” Panels (96″ x 148″ overall) were used so each viewer could appreciate the “over abundance of detail.”

Furthermore, Shaefer chose for the pieces to remain exposed and not covered with glass because “the glass gets in the way of enjoying the piece.”

Having the charcoal out in the open is a big risk for an artist to make and can result in catastrophic damage, but it was worth the reward.

This exposure brought an intimate feel to the life-size realistic feel Shaefer was aiming for [Jokingly stating his intent to make smaller pieces so that they can be sold easier.

Other pieces within his exhibit were paintings of clouds. The clouds became one of Shaefer’s pieces while studying British painters.

“The paint was liberating and fun to move around from visceral. It was much different from line work, dealing with a much broader approach,” said Shaefer.

Crows became a part of his exhibit as a comic relief fro Shaefer. The background of crows in mythology brought the admiration of them for Shaefer.

“These creatures are so bad, so wonderful, so funny, so bright,” stated Shaefer about his admiration of crows.

The creating of the crows became very cinematic. He admitted that while creating the birds on this barbed wire when he went from each panel he ended up using the same bird but in a different as if it was caught mid flight every second.

Open for discussion, many wondered where Shaefer gets his inspiration.

“I took photographs and at the beginning I’m trying to recreate it but after awhile that

photograph goes away and the art takes it course. It’s like a musician or writer after awhile you have to let the art take over,” Shaefer stated about his inspiration.

That question was then followed by one about his perspective on his piece and how he went about creating something so large. His work starts of on tabletop where he draws it from amodel.

“I draw about 90% of it on the tabletop and then I throw it up on the wall to see where it needs more work,” said Shaefer

Each piece took two to three months, which only allowed him to work on one piece at a time.

“Dealing with something this large you always think you’re done until you get through it and

you see there is more needed,” Shaefer said.

Shaefer’s art exhibit is located at Bellermine Museum of Art in the Meditz Gallery and is open for viewing throughout the semester, ending Dec. 19.

View “Rendering Nature,” Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on select Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is always free.

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