November local artist of the month: Ron Sheldon

artwork by Ron Sheldon

artwork by Ron Sheldon

Every month on our Art Display wall (the wall behind the New Books), we feature artwork by a different local artist. November’s  Artist of the Month is Ron Sheldon.

Here he is in his own words:


My art career all started when my wife gave me an all day watercolor art lesson as a birthday gift for my sixtieth birthday.  Soon I was offering my watercolors for sale.  After several years as a watercolor artist I started experimenting with ways to show them without glass.  My experimenting led me to try painting on other surfaces.  That is when I discovered copper.

Painting on copper presents several challenges.  Of course watercolors wouldn’t stay on the copper so a new medium was needed. Eventually, through trial and error…mostly error, I developed what you see now.

I start with pure copper rolls and cut the size I need.  Then I patina the copper. The first step in doing the patina is to create a heat pattern on the copper with a torch.  Then I put the copper through a three stage acid bath.  Interesting random colors and patterns emerge as the copper cures.

I have drawn numerous simple images on heavy translucent paper.   I decide what drawing would look good on the patina pattern and trace it into the back of the copper.  The paper being translucent lets me do the image reverse if I want.  Then I put the copper face down on a foam pad and slightly push out the image with small Teflon hand tools.

The next step is to remove the patina from the image with a burnishing wheel so I can paint on the bright copper.  I use semi transparent alcohol inks to color the image.  This lets the glow of the bright copper enhance the color.

I sometimes add metal foil highlights, a process I developed, such as the water splash on the jumping fish.  Then I seal the finished painting with a museum quality spray varnish.  On the bigger pieces I backfill the pushed out area.

The finished painting is then framed as wall art.

Find out more at:


For more information about the Art Display wall, contact Art Gallery Coordinator Karen Brennan at or 503-682-2744.

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