Process of The Late Work
On Materials :
John was very thrifty, having been formed in the Great Depression; so his economic use of the scanty funds available to us made possible and affected the materials used throughout his late period.
In 1982 Yowell sold 18 paintings to a private collector; one of them was a Sheehan from his middle work. The money from this sale kept them in painting materials, and because Sheehan had rent control since the early 40’s, they managed to spend most of the time painting full time.
In the beginning they started on linen canvas but changed to wood panels to enable the larger works. Eventually they only painted on wood panels. The works on linen canvas that had initially been stretched were removed from stretchers and rolled away, until they were mounted on wood panels.
When they started Sheehan would have Yowell pin linen canvas to a 1/2″ pressed cardboard board, later they switched to Wood panels. Sheehan would begin with a charcoal drawing of the outline of his design. Some of the paintings would change as they evolved by verbal direction from Sheehan until complete; though most were straight forward following the original drawing; mixing of color and application of paint was then by verbal instruction to Yowell.
Around 199o he requested two diamonds be applied on some work to the lower right hand corner of the border area. Subsequently he asked for most of them to be removed, when he felt they were interfering with the painting and defeating the purpose of the borders i.e. as a buffer to keep distractions away.
Basically they worked in three sizes (1) where the shortest side was four feet. (2) where the longest side was four feet. (3) where one side was 2 feet or less.
They produced approximately about 100 works by Sheehan over the fifteen years they worked together. Yowell also produced over 200 of his own works during this time.