Cheryl is a painter working in acrylics. She joined RWS in September 2020. Cheryl paints because she can and because it makes her happy. She recognizes how special it is to experience a creative part of yourself that gives you the ability to actually, as you grow up, realize that you have an affinity toward something that perhaps not everybody else has. Painting is something Cheryl can call her own, and that’s where things come full circle for her, “At this point in my life, after going through the cycle of having a career and family and kids and putting everything else before you, you realize there is a point when you could actually do something for yourself.” And she is lucky to have the space and the freedom to pursue it. She’s been painting for about eight years now and the themes in her work have changed since she started. Initially she was drawing from the things that were directly around her. Her children were young and tended to be her muses. “I loved catching them in an active moment that always had a story behind it.” Now that her children are teenagers she has turned to their Instagram accounts as a source for material. “I have done some stuff that has been representational of where they are as teenagers and how they choose to represent themselves on social media.” These paintings are an act of love. She enjoys doing figurative work and dabbling in landscape painting. Nature and Maine’s environment is always a source of inspiration, but she likes to focus on capturing the moments that show a unique perspective. For her, Maine has such a sense of place, through nature, but also through the people and the community that impacts the everyday experience. How do you capture that in art? “There’s a way to explore and show what makes it special.” Instead of painting a lighthouse or beach, she likes to focus on Portland icons, such as the Hopeful sign by Charlie Hewitt above SPEEDWELL on Forest Ave. It has been helpful for her to think of her art in themes and curate her work in this way, so that when the opportunity presented itself to have a solo exhibition she was ready with a body of work that was representative of what she was doing. “It was a nice way to learn and grow from that experience. That was my first and only solo show and it was a lot of fun.” When she had the solo show, she wrote little descriptors to go next to each painting about what inspired her or the story behind the painting to show that each piece holds meaning for her. “I enjoyed that process and I like when viewers can tell me about the painting because I think that you have a greater appreciation for what it is or what it represents, or you discover something that is really cool and make that connection.”
There is something satisfying for Cheryl about experimenting between painting on paper and wood and canvas. Recently she discovered her preference for wood panel because she has the ability to use sandpaper to erase the places that feel overworked. This isn’t something she does a lot or necessarily looks forward to doing, but as an artist who’s still testing boundaries and figuring things out it was a satisfying moment of discovery. You can view selected works up at the Meeting House Arts gallery in Freeport through October 17th. Message her directly on Instagram (@cseaveyartist).