Born and raised in Italy, Clelia Cardano Sheppard is a sculptor and oil painter whose work captures the fleeting light and shadows of both the internal and external world. Clelia obtained a degree in Visual Arts and Scenic Design from the Academia delle Belle Arti in Rome, where she studied with renowned artists including sculptor Pericle Fazzini. Her marriage to American Navy officer John Sheppard brought her to the U.S. in 1980, where they raised four children and eventually settled on the Eastern Shore of Virginia near the town of Cape Charles. She has served her local community for two decades, first as founder of the non-profit Arts Enter Cape Charles and now as the owner and curator of Lemon Tree Gallery and Studio, a creative space that celebrates her Italian roots and love of the arts.
Clelia practices Plein Air in its true form, painting on site as the mood and colors change before her eyes. She also creates work in her studio, a small room on a bluff overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. She has been commissioned to create murals, paintings, and installations for churches, museums, and public facilities, as well as scenic design for over 30 theatrical productions. Her work has been featured in galleries, exhibits, and private collections in the U.S. and abroad.
Whether it’s a sunset wrapped in fog or a tree in full bloom, art is a part of everyday life, and each moment is unrepeatable. It’s a universal language that knows no geographic boundaries
– Lemon Tree resident artist and curator Clelia Sheppard
Clelia’s awards include Best In Show for Plein Air competitions in Italy, Germany, and Malta (1981-2009), Eastern Shore Art League Best in Show (2003), Northampton County Distinction Award (2004), Cape Charles Citizen of the Year (2005), Hampton Roads Business Woman of the Year Award (2007), Out and About Norfolk Jerry Artarama Award (2009), and Northampton County Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Citizen of the Year (2012).