“In my studio, I am…” by Sheryl Daane Chesnut

Sheryl Daane Chestnut in her studio

"In my studio, I am prolifically messy..."

In my studio I am prolifically messy.  My studio is in an old garage back behind our “real garage”.  It is abandoned looking from the outside but doesn’t leak and has great light, electricity and a sink. I’ve painted it all white and stained the concrete floor red, although as a messy painter, the red floor is spattered with multicolored drips; even the walls have an occasional smattering of color. For my son’s sixteenth birthday gift, my husband and I fixed up a corner of the studio for him to do his intricate stencil art too, so I share my space with him. Our studio was originally a two car garage, but the owners before us divided it in half and made a surfboard shaping room in the back of one half. Story is told that the person before them was a ceramicist and used the larger area for throwing clay. Now the shaping room stores my artwork, and my kids have painted that area dark purple with endless graffiti art on the walls; another portion of the space is used for exercise equipment and is decorated with Derek’s stencil art, and the third and largest portion is the area I work in.

I majored in Fine Art at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara and subsequently worked in illustration and design. I’ve recently gone back to fine art and am slowly gaining speed. I’ve been part of a number of shows both group and individual, and I’ve been picked up by a couple of galleries in California, one in Mill Valley and one down south. I hope to work with more galleries in the future.

My work is contemporary and I generally work in acrylic on canvas, but I also enjoy working with some mixed media on wood panels. I am fascinated by the shape of the figure or landscape and try to capture them in as simple of a form as possible; I am constantly striving to take more away and push reduction. Colors or passages of poetry often inspire me to begin a piece, and then the process takes over. I use skimmers and trowels, squeegees and brushes, sand paper and heat guns to paint, scrape, add and subtract until it feels complete. I think my background in design combined with my education in Fine Art gives me a good sense of composition, color and balance. Additionally my many years of design makes me really appreciate having the luxury of having the time to paint.

You can find current and upcoming shows as well as see more of my artwork on my website.

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