Sentinel Butte artist will live onTears have run like colors in a wet watercolor painting for those who were touched by artist Sheila Rieman.
Tears have run like colors in a wet watercolor painting for those who were touched by artist Sheila Rieman.
The Sentinel Butte resident passed away Thursday in a car crash, but her memory will live on in the paintings she created and in the hearts of those she touched in her 53 years of life.
“She was so modest that people probably had no idea the level of art and what she did,” Sheila’s friend Marsha Lehmann said. “She was kind of our North Dakota rock star artist.”
Pete Novotny, her partner for more than 30 years, said her use of color makes her work stand out.
“She stuck with the traditional western art as much as she could, but she really pushed the color,” Novotny said.
She played with reflection of color on subjects, he added.
“If you look at a deer, your mind tells you what color that deer is and what color it can’t be,” Novotny said. “If the sun is going down and it reflects, that deer could have a pink tinge to it and those are the colors that she pushed.”
A Winona, Minn., native, Sheila moved to Sentinel Butte with Novotny about 10 years ago.
Her studio, which she helped build and designed, is tucked in the Badlands, the hues of which inspired her, Novotny said.
Sheila loved horseback riding and the subject of her art was often wildlife and landscapes, said Sheila’s sister, Shannon Rieman.
“Sometimes her artwork, because of the color she used, was kind of whimsical in nature,” Shannon said.
Once a year Sheila would burn projects she disliked, Novotny said.
She was the “go-to” gal for friends painting their homes, he said.
“She could tell you if the light shined on the wall next to it if it’d make that color different,” Novotny said. “People have been saying that they walk through their house and there’s Sheila’s influence in every room.”
Her personality was as colorful as her artwork — multi-talented, humorous and professional are some of the many things she was, Lehmann said.
“She’s a pretty hard person to put into just a few years,” Lehmann added.
Sheila was planning to be at a showing of her work in Billings, Mont., over the weekend, Novotny said.
She was near Billings when she hit a deer and lost control, Novotny said.
Shannon said she is overwhelmed by the outpouring of people who were connected to her sister.
“I didn’t realize what kind of an impact she had on people, but it’s very obvious that she was well-loved and respected,” she said. “That just really warms my heart that she was so loved and respected.”
Sheila’s memorial services are today at 11 a.m. at the Sentinel Butte Community Center.