Dennis Sheehan's work is often described as reminiscent of the great masters of the Barbizon school, in France in the 19th century, and the American Tonalist. Born in Boston in 1950, he has works in major public and private collections, including the White House. His work has been featured in many publications including the featured cover of American Artist.
Dennis Sheehan received his training in the best traditions of the "Boston School," studying at the Vesper George School of Art and the Montserrat School of Visual Art. He also studied with two of R.H. Gammell's former students, Robert Cormier and Richard Whitney. Like his great nineteenth century predecessor George Inness, whose influence is consciously acknowledged, Sheehan employs the dark palette and thickly pigmented surfaces of the French Barvizon School. Sheehan, like Inness before him, eschews picturesque scenery in the interest of evoking atmospherics. Also like Inness, Sheehan's paintings are produced in the studio from his imagination. For all of the references to history - and there are multiple - there is no mistaking the artist's debt to the more recent past. Withour the legacy of action painting, Sheehan's art woruld be less forceful and evocative than it is.
Sheehan's pastoral paintings are intended to evoke the moody beauty and deep peace of nature. His goal is "to have the painting emanate light, rather than just a surface that records the reflections of light - the power comes from the shadows."
“The transitional period of dusk, dawn, before and after a storm, and even those grayed out days in winter when the sun’s light is most effusive, these are the qualities of light that I am most interested in. My goal is to have the painting emanate light, rather than just be a surface that records the reflection of light. This is why the shadow areas are important for it is form that this emanation precedes. The light areas are focal points of this effort, but the power comes from the shadows” – Dennis Sheehan