Can you tell us about yourself?
Sherrie: “My name is Sherrie MacGraw, I live in Taos New Mexico in America. I started painting in 1975.”
What inspires you to paint?
Sherrie: “The magic of paint coming to life on a flat surface.”
Describe your art work in 10 words.
Sherrie: “The abstract beauty of paint representing the natural world.”
What materials, techniques and tools do you use?
Sherrie: “For my paintings I use Vasari oil paints on lead-primed linen that I prepare myself. But I also paint on smooth boards like Inner Glow panels and New Traditions L600 series oil-primed linen panels. The brushes I use are Silver Grand Prix hogs hair filberts and long filberts, sizes ranging from 2 – 12 generally. I use Maroger medium (Flemish) (www.oldmastersmaroger.com) as it has thixotropic properties that make the paint glide across the canvas like a liquid and then set like a solid—it doesn’t drip. I also use their wax (Venetian) medium in the lights to make thicker paint glide across the surface as well. In drawing my favorite mediums are charcoal (soft and medium) and conté (stick and pencil) in white, sanguine and sepia tones. A kneaded eraser is a wonderful tool as well as a chamois cloth. Even though it is a fairly recent medium for me, when I work in watercolor, I use many brands but am exploring the rich colors in Royal Talens’ brand of tubed paints. The surface I most prefer so far is 100% rag bristol board, starting initially with vine charcoal to get a drawing, and then painting directly from life.”
What is your specialism?
Sherrie: “Chiaroscuro painting and fine art drawing, mainly of nudes and portraits.”
What subjects do you paint and why?
Sherrie: “I love painting still life, portrait, figure and interiors in particular, but landscape has always been of interest. But as I am ‘cursed’ with a great studio, the pull of the comfort of being indoors often wins and I seek inspiration indoors. Beauty is my greatest interest, and I find it in many subjects around me. Just last week I was chasing lamas, sheep, goats and a lone donkey in a large field trying to capture them in line. I have no complaints with my life as an artist.”
Did you go to art college?
Sherrie: “My first year of college was at a liberal arts college in Oklahoma. After two years of learning in a college setting, I realized I wasn’t learning what I wanted to learn, so I quit and studied first with two artists in Oklahoma City, and then at the Art Students League in New York City with David A Leffel. I was gratified to eventually be awarded an honorary doctorate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, perhaps one of the largest art universities anywhere.”
Is art a hobby or a career for you?
Sherrie: “Art is most definitely a career. It has been my career since I was 20 years old. I am vice president of Bright Light Fine Art, and online library of instructional videos.”
What are your four favorite colours?
Sherrie: “Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow deep, Flake White.”
Sherrie: “I knew I would be a fine artists at the age of four. Also knew at that age that I didn’t want to marry or have children.”
Have you had any exhibitions?
Sherrie: ” Yes I have, here is an overview of my exhibitions so far:
– One Woman Retrospective, The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio USA.
– Prix de West, The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City OK, USA
– American Masters Show, Salmagundi Club, New York City, NY, USA
– Solo Show, Governor’s Gallery, Oklahoma State Capitol, Oklahoma City, OK, USA
– Woolaroc Museum, Bartlesville, OK, USA
American Watercolor Society, Salmagundi Club, NY, USA”
Where has your work been published?
Sherrie: “I have had my work published in the following magazines:
– Fine Art Connoisseur
– Art of the West
– American Art Collector
– American Artist Magazine
– Southwest Art
– The Santa Fean
– Southwestern Woman
– Southwest Profile
Have you won any awards?
Sherrie: “Yes, I am proud to say that I have won the following awards:
– Medal of Honor/Lifetime Achievement in American Art – The Butler Institute of American Art
– Honorary Doctorate from the Academy of Art – University of San Fransisco, CA, USA
– Oil Painters of America / Silver Medals
– Gold Medal / Hudson Valley Art Association
– Other smaller awards from various New York Art Associations”
Which artists inspire you?
Sherrie: “Diego Velazquez; Rembrandt van Rijn, Hovsep Pushman, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, David A Leffel, Burt Silverman, Anthony Van Dyck”
Sherrie: “Understanding what the great practitioners of the art of drawing and painting knew was my desire from the beginning. Having a career was always secondary. Accolades have come, but I continue to be driven by a desire to increase my understanding as that is the richest reward from this lifetime study.”