Arthur Shilstone, A Lifetime of Drawing and Painting reviews the career of one of America’s best-known and most highly regarded sporting artists. Shilstone came of age following the second World War and continues to paint in his Connecticut studio today. The book features more than 150 images of sporting art, including hunting and fly fishing, as well as examples of the artist’s earlier formative work as a professional magazine illustrator, and, before that, illustrations created during his war service in Europe. Shilstone served with The Ghost Army, the U.S. Army 23rd Headquarters Special Troops deployed on the front lines in Europe to support the Allied defense against Germany. The pen and ink of the early years shows off the skill that would eventually lead Shilstone to the wonderful play of light and color he continues to deploy in his highly praised sporting art.
Painting by Arthur Shilstone
Text by Fred Polhemus
Hardcover book, full color, 160 pages
About Painting Sporting Art
“I’ve fished all over: Canada, Alaska, out West, the Florida Keys, and closer to home, the Adirondacks. I like to fly-fish, especially for trout. The thing about trout fishing is that you’re doing it in all these wonderful places. You don’t even have to catch anything, though that helps. Fishing these places gave me material for my painting. To do sporting art you have to fish and hunt or you have no authenticity. Many of my paintings were inspired close to home in Redding, Connecticut, where I’ve lived for 57 years. I have two rivers nearby, the Saugatuck and Norwalk, where I’ve fly-fished. We have four seasons, so the light changes, the foliage changes, the weather changes, the mood changes. It’s all here.“
– Arthur Shilstone
About the Artist
Arthur Shilstone still paints in the Connecticut barn he converted into a studio more than fifty years ago. After World War II, Shilstone made a successful career in New York as a magazine illustrator. He’d grown up there and had attended Pratt Institute. But the old barn and the fields around it bordered by forest appealed to the Shilstones, so they moved to rural Connecticut. Moving to the “country” provided the opportunity for Shilstone to hunt and fish as he had done growing up. The transition also influenced his ideas for paintings. He began to use hunting and fishing settings, especially when they included one of the Shilstone sons, as the subject for paintings. As friends saw this work by Shilstone, it sparked new interest and word about his paintings spread. The magazine illustration began to decline and was replaced by paintings of sporting art that were selling in galleries around the United States. It was clear that Shilstone enjoyed this new milieu. Even more important, enthusiasts of sporting art began seeking out his work. The enthusiasm for Shilstone’s paintings has continued unabated ever since. As he transformed the old barn into an artist’s studio, Shilstone installed a huge window in the north wall. The light from that window has illuminated countless works of art created by Arthur Shilstone. This book brings together a wide range of those paintings. After fifty years they continue to look as fresh and engaging as they did in the even, north light of the artist’s studio.