Artist Seeks to Share the Joy
I was a bit later getting into visual art, learning to draw at age 39. The longing to do art had been in me forever, but the time and opportunity did not present till then.
It didn't take long, and I was into deep water, or rather deep into watercolour, and soon added oil and acrylic to my art-song.
When did you first realize you were an artist?
I had taken a couple of art how-to books out from the library, but hadn't done any more than flip through them. Then I had a really difficult day. You know, the walls were closing in and nothing was right. I cried out a desperate prayer - "God, I need a holiday!" Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder and Someone said, "Cheryl, sit down and draw." I got out the art book and worked through a number of drawing exercises. Over an hour later, I lifted my head and realized that my spirit had been refreshed! I said, "Thank you, God! I have found my place of refreshing, and didn't have to buy a plane ticket or find someone to watch the kids!"
Please tell us about your process
In one word, I would call my art "exploring". I love to try new things, new techniques, new ways of combining colour, new unusual paint effects. My goal is to delight the viewer in colour, texture, shape, movement - and so share the joy.
I also teach adults to paint and draw, which is another practical sharing of the joy. I find that for many folks, painting does become a place of refreshing. Lastly, I'm working on filming some art courses that I hope to sell online.
What kind of music do you like to listen to while creating art?
Soft rock, plus some folk and classical are enjoyed. If I'm tired and painting for a deadline, higher energy music helps me to keep the brush moving.
How do you get inspired when feeling uninspired?
I have a wonderful collection of photos that I can flip through. It would take me quite a few lifetimes to paint all the ones that I love! I also like going for a quiet walk and contemplating my current art theme.
What do you do like to do besides creating art?
I play guitar, and have just started to learn piano. As mentioned, walks are important to me. I try to do a brisk 7 km walk every other day for exercise.
What are you working on most recently?
I've really been enjoying exploring a variety of acrylic mediums for texture and fascinating colour effects. When you start layering these, the possibilities are endless!
What is the best painting you ever created?
My most joyful creations to date have involved pouring on of colour. Paintings such as "The Four Horses" begin with no subject in mind, and the colours and shapes speak to me of a subject or abstract theme. You can see a video of this painting from start to finish on my website www.cherylo.ca (Right hand column beside blog.) It was an amazing experience!
What role does the artist have in the world?
My hope is that art can bring joy into the life of both the artist and the art collector. In the west, we live in a world that moves way to fast, with every moment packed with activity.
We are trained to think that restful time is wasted time - how bad is that?! I hope that for my students, creating art becomes a place of refreshing joy that enables them to better go back and face whatever else life is tossing at them. For the collector, I hope that looking at the art will also bring them joy and a way of escape from life's hectic pace.
Have you sold much of your art?
I don't know an exact number, but it would be in the hundreds now. It's really fun to know that my art can be found around the world: Spain, Japan, Australia, Britain, U.S. I've had gallery shows in Ontario and Quebec. I was on eBay for a year as an experiment, but decided that the bargain mentality didn't really suit me. At the moment, I am concentrating on online sales through my website and an email list. It leaves me more time to paint, not driving works to various galleries, although I must say that the galleries were good to me too.
How have you promoted your art on the web?
I launched a new website December of 2011. I blog about art every weekday, and have found this very well received.
I'm having fun with writing now, as well as painting and teaching, but yes, my weeks feel very short!
Who are your influences?
The Canadian Group of Seven and the Impressionists are historical favourites. I give classes where we paint through some of their painting in order to learn the techniques and colour usage. Contemporary artists Stephen Quiller and John Lovett are wonderful inspirations for me as well.
Can you recommend a favorite contemporary artist?
Stephen Quiller is a Colorado artist whose work inspires me. He uses watermedia in layers and unusual shapes and colour for his abstract landscapes. Beautiful work.
Please tell us a story from your life
My most recent journey was a trip through the Canadian Rockies. Wow! Those mountains are gorgeous! The silence beside those turquoise blue mountain lakes was soooo deep.
Where do you see your art career going in 10 years?
I'm hoping that the online courses may open new doors for me, and let me share my joy in art with a much wider spread community than is currently possible with the 'live' classes I teach in London, Canada. And I expect to still be exploring painting techniques, because there is never enough time to paint all that I'd like to be painting!
Advice for emerging artists
Keep the passion. When you first get your brush out, think about what exactly it is you love most about your chosen subject. Strive to express that from start to finish.
Cheryl O - Artist Seeks to Share the Joy
Facebook Page: Art of Cheryl O