What History Has Taught Me: Sherry Blanchard Stuart

Sherry Blanchard Stuart true west magazine
— Courtesy of Sherry Blanchard Stuart —

Sherry Blanchard Stuart is an award-winning artist and recipient of a BFA degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Sherry is listed in Who’s Who in American Art, and has been featured in The American Artist, Midwest Art, Equine Images, The Illustrator, Cowboys and Indians, Southwest Art, the Appaloosa Journal, Wildlife Art magazines and the book Art of the American West. She is a Signature member of Oil Painters of America, American Plains Artists, Arizona Artists Guild, Knickerbocker Artists, a Master Signature member of American Women Artists and is a founding member of The Creative Women of Pinnacle Peak. Sherry’s work is in the permanent collections of the Tucson Museum of Art, the Desert Caballeros Museum, the Great Plains Art Museum, the Phippen Museum, The Arizona Military Museum and the St. George Art Museum in Utah.

What History has taught me is that I feel like I can almost time-travel when I read the historical accounts and especially see the art images and old photos of the past. Some of the photos that True West has used on its pages are truly remarkable.

To me, good art is working from life and being able to see the colors and values, and painting what you see and not what a camera can pick up. I work from photos a lot and they are great for reference, but you have to learn that they can distort and don’t show the vast array of color that exists in nature.

My painting career took off when I spent more time, effort and energy with composition and especially drawing. The ability to draw is vital to any artist’s career.

For my money the best Western ever is Lonesome Dove. I can watch endless reruns of this fascinating story and always find something new to enjoy about it.

My favorite spot out West is the Sonoran Desert right here in Arizona, where I live. I used to start every day with a nice long trail ride in this lush, beautiful desert that is unique in the world.

Most people don’t know I buy and sell antiques and
art as a total getaway from the easel. My mother was an antiques dealer and I grew up learning all about old glass, porcelain, furniture, dolls and all things from the past. I love to find old photos and see these things and how people lived with them.

Wish I had a dollar for every time someone said, “How long did it take you to paint that?” My answer is usually, well it depends on how many figures, animals etc., are in the composition and, of course, the size. But it really depends on the painting itself, sometimes the whole painting just seems to fall off the brush; other times the painting takes forever and even needs to be abandoned.

The hardest thing to capture in a painting is atmosphere, that special feeling that brings a painting to life. It can be achieved in strong sunlight and on an overcast cloudy day. It’s all about edges and values establishing a background, middle ground and foreground to create an illusion of depth. The third dimension on a two-dimensional surface is a key part of the magic of art.

The secret to a good painting is good composition and color. The subject matter can be anything, but if you have a good strong composition and the colors are right, it is probably a good painting.

My next goal is to get my work in more out-of-state galleries and to enter new shows that I haven’t been exhibited in before.

thunder and iron sherry blanchard stuart true west magazine
Thunder and Iron, a 32-inch-x-36-inch oil on linen is a powerful example of Sherry Blanchard Stuart’s passion for painting the people, culture and history of the American West. — Art courtesy Sherry Blanchard Stuart —

Sherry Blanchard Stuart, Artist.

Her work is currently exhibited at Open Range Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, and The Caddo Trading Co. in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Her paintings have been displayed in many juried and solo exhibits nationwide and can be found in private and corporate collections worldwide. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.