Sheila Howell Tuffanelli was born in
Manila, Philippines a few years before World War II. The family managed to
get to the United States in 1942.
for the proper situation for her British
father began a ten year journey. They settled for a while in San
Diego near her mother's large Irish family. After the war they moved
back to San Francisco where she attended Presidio and George Washington
High Schools. A final move was to San Mateo and Notre Dame High School, and then
Stanford University where she met her husband of 49 years, Denny Tuffanelli.
odyssey continued while Denny continued
his medical training moving from Chicago to Minnesota to Los Angles
and finally to Marin County in 1964, here to raise their five daughters.
In her early years
Sheila created a make-believe world of
friends, drawings, writing plays for her dolls,
making costumes and dancing. Things haven't changed much, except her friends
are real, the plays became her poetry, the dolls became her daughters and dance
remains important in her sculptures and paintings.
In between raising 5 children Sheila has
performed in musicals, produced a weekly children's TV show, refinished
furniture, painted her house at least three times, driven 50,000 miles of
car pools, established the first gymnastic training school in Marin (MEGA)
, worked as a bookkeeper in her husband's office and finally 12 years ago
was able to concentrate on her art. Sheila defines the multitasking woman
Sheila was an art
major at Stanford University and continued
her education at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and
the College of Marin. In her sculpture she portrays the strength and dignity of
women, the loving, nuturing yet fiercely protective nature of women. These
attributes have been passed down to her daughters and 11 grandchildren.
works mainly with tar paper in her
sculptures . She has developed her own technique. Starting with sketches
and then forming a wire armature, she layers torn pieces of tar paper,
gluing layer upon layer until it forms a very strong shape. Then the
form can be embellished with stitching or texturing the surface. This
tactile process is very important to her and extending this component into
painting with pastels has been the perfect bridge. It has opened up further
experimentation. The true artist never stops learning and pushing
Absorbing, compelling, passionate,
fulfilling... what an incredible gift to be an Artist.
Sheila's work can also be viewed here: