Dr. Stephen Sheldon is a prominent pediatrician and Pediatric Sleep Medicine specialist in Chicago with an intense interest in neurobiology and art. Since 2009, Dr. Sheldon has created high-resolution macro photographs of celebrated Chicago artists’ palettes, from the traditional to any surface that could be used for the purpose of holding paint before it is used: scraps of wood, waxed paper, studio walls, milk cartons, plastic plates, cookie sheets, sheets of glass, and paper bowls. Remarkably, none photographed have had stylistic or generational links.

Premise for a close-up photographic look at the artists’ palettes is based upon a unique relationship between how an artist mixes paint and applies it to the brush prior to placing paint on an intended surface. When seen very closely, brush movements appear innate and distinctive to each artist’s process, not just a practical task. Seemingly utilitarian motions come from within the artist and become an unconscious signature: handwriting prior to placing media on canvas. Stylistic impulse carries over from the palette to artwork, without intentional effort.  Seemingly unplanned passive mixing swirls and strokes are completely distinctive. Paint is deftly picked from palette, then become evident in entirely deliberate strokes on canvas. Artists who have participated in this project, after viewing images of their palette, have had an extraordinary experience of seeing something seen every day, but rarely looked upon.  The late Ed Paschke once said that you can tell a true artist from their palette.

Dr. Sheldon is Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine and Director of the Sleep Medicine Center, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital). He is active in the clinical practice of pediatric sleep medicine from both a pulmonary and neurology standpoint. Currently he serves on national and international professional society Boards of Directors, is Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, is Chief Editor of the textbook, Principles and Practice of Pediatric Sleep Medicine, and has authored 8 other medical textbooks and more than 100 scientific papers in the area of pediatrics, medical diagnosis, and pediatric sleep medicine. Dr. Sheldon proudly holds a Certificate of Graduation in Professional Photography from the New York Institute of Photography.