Bend painter Sheila Dunn highlights Central Oregon with a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the Cascades and the Deschutes River in the 2021 Winter Art Series piece presented by the Old Mill District.
For the fifth year in a row the Old Mill District in Bend has commissioned an original art piece as part of its Winter Art Series. This year’s submission, an original painting by local artist Sheila Dunn that takes a bird’s-eye view of landmarks familiar to most Central Oregonians, was recently unveiled and will be featured as the backdrop for SantaLand as well as displayed throughout Central Oregon on banners, posters and printed pieces.
“We’ve truly come to love the Winter Art Series as its unveiling typically kicks off our holiday season here at the Old Mill District,” said Beau Eastes, Old Mill District Marketing Director. “We’re also huge supporters of all types of art here in Central Oregon, and we’ve become big fans of Sheila Dunn’s work.”
The piece, which features a barn owl in flight over the Deschutes River and the Old Mill District during a gorgeous moonlit morning, will be displayed prominently on Old Mill District promotional items throughout the upcoming winter. Additionally, Dunn will showcase the piece and her work at the district’s First Friday Art Walk on Dec. 3 out of the former Ticket Mill booth between Va Piano and Anthony’s from 3-6 p.m.
“I wanted a unique perspective, so I chose to feature the owl as a focal point with the Deschutes, the Three Sisters and the Old Mill District in the background,” Dunn said. “The Sisters are just a huge part of why I love living in Bend, and it’s also representative of the Old Mill District, so it was important that I included them in the painting.”
A native of Colorado, Dunn moved to Bend in 2009 and quickly grew a local following for her large, vibrant, geometric, and often nature-inspired work. Her Winter Art Series submission epitomizes this style, as well as her love for the local scenery.
“Wild places are so much a part of my identity, both here in Bend and back in Colorado, but they were being threatened,” she said. “I then had a realization that I could do something. I could use my artwork as a vehicle for activism by giving back to people who are giving their lives to protect these landscapes.”
Dunn said that as a painter, her first love is figure painting. However, she also enjoys painting landscapes and wildlife as it gives her a chance to spotlight the need to protect our wilderness areas. She even donates a percentage of the sales of these paintings to local conservation organizations.
In addition to such activism, Dunn has also collaborated with a number of local companies, including Ruffwear, Free Range Equipment and Bend Cider Co.
“When friends in Colorado ask why I moved away … my answer is always that I have a strong connection to the community here in Bend,” Dunn said. “Then, you feel this level of responsibility when you live in a place that is so special and unique, and I almost feel a bit of an obligation to help keep it that way. So, I’ve been supportive with my artwork here in a myriad of ways. It’s a way to keep that circle going.”
Past Old Mill District Winter Art Series artists have included Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer (2017), Susan Luckey Higdon (2018), Shelli Walters (2019), and Kathy Deggendorfer (2020).
To learn more about this year’s Winter Art Series artist, Sheila Dunn, as well as to see and purchase her work, visit her website at SheilaDunnArt.com.