The genesis of a new project (or two)

It all started with my going to an exhibition of new paintings by a favorite artist of mine, Desmond O’Hagan. Mostly oils with a few pastels.

Many years ago it was a pastel painting by O’Hagan that so first grabbed my interest I wound up buying it (my first piece of “real” art!). I remember thinking that one day I’d like to try my hand at pastels – the colors were so vibrant, the texture so interesting, and besides, you never had to wait for paint to dry before painting over it. Satisfied my need for instant gratification.

Nearly a decade later I did just that – started painting in pastels. Did quite a few; sold some; got one in a magazine (The Pastel Journal); took some classes and workshops, even one with O’Hagan (lots of fun!). But I didn’t know how to “sell” myself – so I didn’t. Various work ventures started intruding on my time and various appliances in my kitchen (where I was painting) squeezed my space until the easel just stayed folded. For several years.

So at O’Hagan’s recent exhibition, we spoke; he asked what I’m painting. “Um,” I answered. He invited me to join his next workshop – to jumpstart myself back into painting? I was tempted. I miss it. But there’s still no room in my kitchen.

I met another couple of artists there, friends of O’Hagan, one a pastelist and the other a watercolorist and the owner of a small art gallery that features no oils, just watercolors and pastels, plus pottery and other 3-dimensional works of art.

She said her own work is more whimsical than most watercolors, and she’s right! I love it. I told her of a pastelist, Carole Katchen, who does whimsical paintings and she was interested. I promised to stop by to see her gallery and show her Katchen’s book. I did so and we had a great visit.

So each day, I was thinking more about painting again.

But there’s still no room in my kitchen.

Oh. Well. A possible solution? Half of my rec room is my office. The other half was filled with cartons of old papers relating to nothing, items that “interested” me once, old business ventures, or relating to my current business but that I haven’t filed and other materials I use for trade shows and so on. Typically me-clutter. I figured that I could actually put some of the items where they belong (what a concept!) and haul the “stuff” cartons upstairs for sorting and basic de-cluttering. That would free up tons of space!

Several hours later, I had my easel, my art gear, and a couple of items of furniture I use to hold it all downstairs, and the cartons upstairs on a temporary fold-out table, yes, in my kitchen.

Whew. So now I have two “projects” added to my life (in addition to work). One is doing a bunch of fast paintings (several a week?) to get back into it. And the other is inevitable – sorting and decluttering. I’ve started to do some of both. This blog is testimony to my progress.

So far I’ve filled one paper-recycling container with “stuff.” It’s hard! My favorite item was the article on “How to manage clutter.” Apparently it didn’t take.

(By the way, this new project prompted my sister Sally – who lives in an RV with her husband – to send me to a 20-minute video called The Story of Stuff. Eye-opening, to say the least.)

I’ll keep you posted!


  1. Posted March 2, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Nice Blog Sherry! A beautiful background and an interesting/intriguing subject.

  2. Posted March 2, 2009 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Sherry, this looks great, I am impressed. Melanie Hanni

  3. Posted March 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Great blog! Can you help me on find some themes like this one?

  4. Posted March 2, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I love this! It reminds me of my grandmother who used to paint with oils all the time when I was a kid. She did a lot of stuff in the same style as “Grandmother Moses”. My Gammie passed away about a month ago so her paintings in our house are so special to me. For your families sake, make time to do what you love and they will love you for it!

    Kevin O’Neill

  5. Pete Finney
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Looks really nice Sherry!!

  6. admin
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Pete, Kevin, David, Melanie, & John – I would reply to each of your comments individually but beats me if I can figure out how to do that! So just thanks so much for reading my very first post and commenting on it. And especially, Kevin, thanks for encouraging me to do something I love (and that I allow to languish and grow dust-balls way too much!). My sympathies for the loss of your Gammie. She sounds special to you.

    BTW, I’ve thrown together a collage of some recent quick paintings and uploaded them as a background on twitter [username: sherrysherman]. If you see this and feel like it, go see them and tell me what you think!

  7. Posted March 3, 2009 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Hey Sherry,

    Your blog looks great! Not sure you could have found a better background for your topic. Hey if you decide you have any oil paintings you dont want send them my way. LOL. My wife is trying to find one for over our bed at our condo right now!


  8. admin
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    LOL, Michael, I work in pastels, otherwise you can bet in a heartbeat I’d send you one. As soon as I received your check. 😀 Thanks for looking and commenting! (Would you believe I went through all 632 themes – twice!! Once in December (when there were over 800 themese), then again the other day when I decided to actually put themes on 7 blogs I’ve created (not all mine).

  9. Posted March 3, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Love your blog and your background. I know about the work involved in getting a custom backgroud. I also have taken up painting, in fact I’m saving my real passion blog for when I have more painting experience to post .
    Would love to see your work.

  10. Posted March 3, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Sherrie a great blog!! I also have a sister Sally who lives in a trailor in Keystone Heights Fla. Charlotte

  11. admin
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kathy – Congrats on taking up painting. We need to use the gifts we’ve been given. Now for the hard part – finding or making the time to do it! Let’s see, should I try to sort through clutter, paint, do household chores, or … work? Hmm. For the blog background, I can’t really take credit for anything other than figuring out how to get it onto my site! I do plan to be posting some of my paintings on this blog. Feel free to subscribe! (Gee, I hope the subscribe function is working.)

  12. admin
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Hi Charlotte-
    Thanks for visiting!
    My sister Sally actually has been living with her husband in a –smallish!– RV! Mostly just traveling, visiting family and friends, making new friends, sometimes stopping for a month or two to volunteer work at a national park, a couple of winters spent in Mexico, etc. I created a blog for her named after their license plate and email name – 🙂 Hope I can get her to start using it. (They were in Australia/New Zealand for a year and had a blogspot blog called “Noclox Down Under.”)

  13. Posted March 3, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Awesome. How come everyone has such nice looking websites. Are you guys really just starting. I really think you are good and appreciate your help you have freely given since we started.

  14. admin
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lance – Mine really is new. You can tell by the ONE single post and the fact I haven’t even changed my About page. At all. It just LOOKS different b/c I uploaded a theme. I wrote how to do it on the ubranding site. go search for “theme” and “blog.” Then yours will look great too! (Oh yeah, then you have to start posting.)

  15. Posted March 3, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I can totally relate to the clutter. My wife and I both have an organizational disability. We have several books on organizing an occasionally we find one of them.
    Also, I’ve seen that video on The Story of Stuff. It’s very good.

  16. admin
    Posted March 3, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    “Organizationally disabled” – yes, exactly, Steve! I’m glad I saw the video on the internet because if someone had given me a paper copy, I would have had to keep it, probably on top of a pile somewhere, just in case I need it again some day.

  17. Posted March 4, 2009 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Your blog has a great look to it, I love it. I used to paint and draw too, have taken classes in oils and watercolors, but my forte was acrylics and/or gouache. I LOVED it. I even had my stuff hanging in a local coffee house in Utah for a few years before I moved to Oklahoma and sold some paintings! I also had two pieces selected for a winterfest showing at the Patrick Moore gallery in Salt Lake City. But alas, this thing called Money Merge account came into my life, and kind of took over, and nothings been the same since! Thanks for sharing. Where can I watch the clutter video?

  18. admin
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Kimberly, thanks for your comments. I just left one on your blog (the post about Kristina). Amazing that you stopped painting – I hope it’s just temporary! You sound like you have a lot of talent and that it’s been recognized. The clutter video – I’ll have to try to find it – I got it before I got this new computer, so the link is on my old one. I WILL find it!

  19. Posted March 4, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful site and great blog. If that picture on the side is one of your paintings, you have great talent! The most I can do is draw stick figures. Some people just don’t have that talent. Post a picture of the first painting you complete!

  20. Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I am impressed. Looks like you’ve been in this business for a long time! Sure do appreciate your help for all of us on the forum.

  21. Posted March 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Betty and Joyce – thanks for visiting and your compliments! Betty, the picture at the top right is NOT mine; it came with the theme. Joyce, I’m not “in the business” of painting at all! I messed around for a couple years around 2000-02, then for a month or two in ’04, I think. Then just… not much! Till recently, when I got set up again and determined to do a little pretty regularly.

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