Walking between seven to nine miles a day, artist Sherry Allen is often on the move. As a country dance competitor, she holds four world titles and relishes excursions that involvebiking, kayaking, or hiking — anything that brings her closer to nature. It’s in these settings that she thrives and sees with a painter’s perspective. She takes photos that will later be referenced back in the studio.
That’s where Allen envisions how she’ll capture the critters that live amongst the trees, beaches, waterways, and open spaces on her canvas.
“I push the color and identify with the animal,” said Allen on her style and subject matter.
“I use an intensification of shades and color, so it’s not totally realistic, but it’s not abstract either. I also use the focus of the shot to make some sort of emotional connection with the animals.”
Each painting she will show in the Tallahassee Watercolor Society’s Annual Brush Strokes Exhibition hopes to give attendees a different perspective on a variety of wild creatures. Allen’s favorite is “Between Legs,” which will be on display through Nov. 13, in the City Hall Art Gallery.
The painting places the viewer quite literally at ground level and in between legs and hooves, with its focus on one grazing zebra’s bluish muzzle. Using the full range of her palette, Allen’s zebras are navy blue and auburn color, hitting on pinks, yellows, and blues, rather thanblacks and whites.
Though she’s only recently begun painting with watercolors, Allen enjoys the many challenges of the medium.
“Sometimes I paint the same composition three times before I’m happy with it,” admits Allen. “I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time because each time I’m learning something new.
The more you look at it the better, and the more opportunity you have to become better at it.”
Allen was always practicing her craft while growing up in her hometown of West Palm Beach. She recalls taking long bike rides from her home to the Palm Beach inlet, frequently with her sketchbook in hand. Her mother, who also had an affinity for drawing, continually supported Allen’s pursuits. “She would let me draw her no matter how many times I made her look like George Washington,” laughs Allen.
“She was always my biggest cheerleader.”
Allen attended Florida State University for both her BFA and MFA degrees in art. While in college, she preferred making sizeable and vivid acrylic pieces with imagined jungle landscapes and fabricated flora and fauna. Henry Rousseau was a major influence on her work, and she sought to tell a story with each painting.
Read the rest of the story by visiting the Tallahassee Democrat
Or read more by downloading the article here