Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.
– Robert Collier
If you want to improve your painting skills, create 100 paintings. Something fine artist, Sheri Jones, once read and took to heart. After 30 years, she has long surpassed that number, but credits “brush mileage” for her growth as an artist and for shaping her signature style. Working a day job may limit her painting time, but that doesn’t deter her from the pursuit. Every morning, at least an hour in the studio is devoted to the creative process. She’ll put in the time even when not inspired to do so. Daily practice stretches creative muscles and powers an artist through dry spells. This dedication has made her a prolific painter. She is always pushing to improve herself and has come to cherish these mornings. Getting in the zone is like going on a vacation for Sheri. All other thoughts and cares slip away while she creates.
Inspiration is found in the landscape around her. During her daily commute, she observes the sun rising and the shapes the light creates on the landscape. Her passion is to record and share these patterns of light, shape and color in a way that brings the viewer joy and enhances their life. She loves to share her discoveries and interpretation of these scenes in her blogs so others can see through her eyes.
A plein air workshop taken through the Lake Granbury Art Association in 2005 would dramatically shape Sheri’s future work. “It changed everything I thought I knew about painting.” Painting outside on location allowed her to see more color and depth than working from photos alone. Plein air painting comes with its own unique set of challenges. The light is in constant motion changing the landscape minute by minute. She was advised to paint faster in order to capture it. “That was the first time I picked up the palette knife. I learned I could get more paint on faster.” She found it helped her block in large, base shapes quickly. She also tried using the palette knife in the studio for more detailed work and was “hooked”.
Sheri has since developed her own personal painting technique. Rather than painting directly on a white canvas, she first tones it with Alizran Crimson or another warm tone. Using brushes, she sketches the basic design and lays in the darks then quickly switches to the palette knife to develop big shapes and patterns. In the studio, she often uses plein air field studies to create much larger pieces.
Plein Air painting has brought her opportunity for travel and adventure. She’s painted on location closer to home in Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, but has also traveled to France, Spain, and Italy. Her French lavender field works are breathtaking. When she’s not globe-trotting, she can be found on daily basis in her own personal FROG (Finished Room Over Garage) in Granbury, Texas, her sanctuary, putting in the time and energy it takes to be a successful artist.
Article written by Rebecca Zook