Sheryl McCammon

31 August 2012

Yesterday morning I rang Sheryl to see if I could call in for a few minutes and have a catchup. Sheryl only lives three houses up the street from me but we rarely cross paths! She had set a goal for the day: to complete the painting below.  I stayed long enough to grab a couple of photos and check on the progress of her haiku art work. No, she hasn’t started yet but she reassured me it will be finished in time. I’m not fretting – I’m leaving all the artists to do what they do best, they all work to different schedules and I feel quite relaxed about that.

With only two months until the opening I’m working out the advertising, organising the creation of the flyers/posters, thinking about the opening event and making lists and side lists and spreadsheets…. After talking about the exhibition for so many months it’s starting to feel very real and exciting!

3 May 2012

This morning I wandered up our street to catch up with Sheryl. Her morning’s work was lying on the kitchen table – a commissioned painting of a local house with just a few final touches to be added to the garden.   Leaning against the door to their lounge was a blank canvas. Aha the haiku painting, I thought, but no the haiku is waiting in line.

Sheryl spent Easter photographing boats, sheds, water, and reflections on Stewart Island. She works from photographs, her camera a constant companion. Her long-term project is to have a Stewart Island exhibition – a series of maybe 12 paintings – but her short-term plan is to complete one in time to display at an upcoming car show.

I spied the haiku in large print on Sheryl’s fridge. That will be next, she assured me, I’m still mulling over the possibilities. Sheryl works from her sunny kitchen table painting every day, except Fridays when she takes a break to catch up on household tasks. She prefers to be on her own while painting with background TV breaking the silence.

When asked how long she’d been painting Sheryl laughed, forever. I used to paint all the time, started off with those paint by numbers kits and when I ran out of those I just created my own. My first exhibition was in Invercargill when I was 16. I remember at school I hated sewing, was useless at it, so the teacher let me paint all the sewing posters she wanted to have up on her walls. We were both happy.

I have no idea of time versus output so tentatively asked Sheryl how many paintings she produced each year. About 12, 1/3 of those commissions, and yes all in acrylic, Sheryl said. She paints more in the winter – the paint dries too quickly in the summer and my kitchen is too bright. At that stage we wandered outside and she paced out for me the outline of her new studio/summer room. It means she’ll be able to spread out, and won’t have to pack up her work every night to free up the table for dinner.

I asked Sheryl about her most enjoyable exhibition. Without any hesitation she answered. I met three other painters through a children’s playgroup, we got together and held about 6 exhibitions, in Invercargill, Dunedin and when one of the group moved to Blenheim the rest of us took a trip and held a couple of exhibitions up there. They were fun, recalled Sheryl. Two of the group no longer paint but Sheryl and Karen Pringle are long-term players! If you’re out at Dunedin airport during August look for Sheryl’s work – she will be the Artist in the Terminal for that period.

And is there a life outside painting? Sheryl had a quick retort to that query. Of course, cooking. I love cooking. The textures, the presentation, dinner parties, just love it.

The photos below show Sheryl’s kitchen studio and some of her artwork decorating her home walls.  When she starts her haiku art work I’ll wander up the street and capture some more photos. But until then, have a look here.


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