Artist Sean Murtha

An example of fine art by Sean Murtha

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The son of artistically inclined parents, Sean Murtha was encouraged at a young age to draw and paint. Inspired by the still-remaining pockets of field, forest and saltmarsh on the north shore of Long Island, NY, he settled early into the two areas of painting that would remain a lifelong interest- landscape and wildlife, especially birds. He studied painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, graduating with a BFA in 1990, and though his naturalistic paintings were somewhat out of step with the conceptual work of his peers, he remained committed to the practice of direct observation from life, with a focus on nature. His early influences were Eric Sloane, N.C. Wyeth, Charles R. Knight, and later the painters of the Hudson River School and the American Impressionists, especially Willard Metcalf.  Later, as wildlife became increasingly his focus, he was strongly influenced by Francis Lee Jaques, Robert Bateman, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Bruno Liljefors, Lars Jonsson and others. For reference he often visited nearby wildlife preserves, zoos, and the American Museum of Natural History, where, in 1996, he was hired to work in the exhibition department, largely on the strength of his studies of their mounted specimens. The next ten years at the AMNH were formative ones. Introduced to a wide variety of disciplines, he grew both as an artist and as a naturalist. His background in landscape painting put him in a position to benefit from the skills passed down through a long line of diorama artists, especially James Perry Wilson, who had mastered the unique perspective challenges of painting on a curved surface. Murtha was especially fortunate to have met and been mentored by the last living diorama painter from the AMNH's "golden age", Fred Scherer, who himself was a disciple of Wilson's. While employed by the AMNH, [...]

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