Gardens have been a popular subject in art. All throughout history artists have chosen to depict flowers, foliage and beautiful vistas. But it seems that there are other elements of gardening life that too, can make both beautiful and interesting paintings!
Sheri Gee is an artist based in West Sussex and she has just completed a new collection of work. These small paintings are so simple and spontaneous, but there is a real magic about them!
We caught up with Sheri to find about a little more about her art and what inspired her to paint such an unusual little collection.
What part of the country are you from?
I live in West Sussex, about an hour south of London.
What is your work history?
I'm a part-time artist, I also work part-time as an Art Director in book publishing.
What is your art history?
Although I have a degree in Illustration, I taught myself to paint in the years since graduation. During my studies I was more interested in collage and photography based work. Back in 2001 I gave myself a new year's resolution to do more drawing, and signed up for a fortnightly life drawing class which I then attended for ten years! Whilst there I worked my way through pencil, charcoal, pastel, oil pastel, inks, acrylics and finally oils which is my medium of choice these days.
Do you have an interest in gardening, nature, the great outdoors?
I think I'm largely a by-product of my parents, as we all are. I've grown up with great gardeners, in my mum and dad. They always kept a far more organised garden than I do, but I love to grow fruit and vegetables - I get an enormous sense of pleasure cooking and eating something that I've grown.
What are your passions?
I love to make things - whether that's as simple as dinner or a cake, knit, sew, garden or make art.
What do you usually paint?
I love painting people most of all, especially portraits. Aside from commissions or projects, I'm enormously blessed to be able to paint my own children while they're growing up. Hopefully they'll treasure the paintings when they're older.
Why did you set yourself the 30 in 30 challenge? Why did you choose seeds?
I've been wanting to take part in the 30 in 30 challenge for a few years - it's a wider project, run by US artist Leslie Saeta who hosts the challenge on her blog sartastudio.com
, allowing artists to sign up and post their work daily. It's usually run in January and September - both months have always sounded restrictive to me, with children off school for the first few days etc. This year it was moved to February, so despite a looming half term, I took a leap!
'Seed packets' was very much a brain-wave. I'd been wondering what to paint for a few weeks prior to the start date, and had even asked fellow artist-friends for ideas. To paint so consistently during a busy lifestyle, you really have to come up with a theme that doesn't present any daily barriers to creating work. The most obvious I could think of was painting still life of vegetables or flowers but somehow I wasn't drawn to it. Then 'seed packets' suddenly popped into my head. I had a plentiful supply at home, they're colourful (I love using vibrant colour), they're relevant to me and to the springtime that I'd be painting towards.
What mediums do you use?
I love to paint in oils - being able to push wet paint around is fabulous!
How large are the paintings?
Each painting is A4, painted on twice-primed smooth watercolour paper.
Are they for sale?
They will definitely be, but I'm currently looking into exhibition opportunities - I'd love to see them all up together somewhere. Meanwhile I have developed a range of prints, in my website shop, including a large giclée print poster of all of them together.
What are your favourite plants?
I love a flowering shrub - something that brings delight year on year with little effort! I have a cytisus in the front garden and a forsythia in the back that both bring me a lot of joy when they're in bloom with their yellow flowers, Other favourites are lavender and rosemary, hardy and scented.
What do you like to grow?
I love to sow vegetable seeds and grow a little bit of everything. Nothing may see me through a season, as I'm just working on a small raised bed and some pots and a vinyl covered green house. But even so, last summer we had plenty of tomatoes, mange tout and green beans. I have strawberry runners, so we always get a good crop of those, and the blueberry bush had a good year last year too.
What are you thinking about for your next project?
I have an on-going series of rain paintings - commuters in the rain and have just completed a new piece in that series. Aside from that, I'm very keen to develop my stitch series which features a girl sewing cross stitch. The project stemmed from a museum exhibit of a girl's cross stitch sampler from 1878. I've been combining oil painting and stitch on the canvas, which I've found really inspiring.
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