Sherrie Warren Spinelli
“Art is a series of trial and error of discovery and exhilaration. Hope and determination.” Sherrie was born in Salt Lake City; the third of seven children. She grew up camping and fishing in the Rocky Mountains. As a child she spent many hours looking through magazines of nature and photos of people. Her earliest artistic influence was her creative father, who was one of four owners of a sizeable bakery. Her father excelled in decorating exquisite wedding cakes in his children he did wood cuts, and he built and designed model ships. His talents were passed through her to her oldest son, Tal Walton, a nationally renowned artist, who resides with his family in Colorado.
At twenty-five, and with five small children, she decided to take a workshop from Ed Sandavol. She had been working pastels and loved the unusual way they ex0ploited the intensity of pigment. Her studies with Mr. Sandavol were the beginning of a love for oils and landscape. After moving to Indiana, she found a great curiosity, eagerness, and a love of a different variety of subject matters. She preferred studio painting. “This way I can spend the time in putting more of my expressions to work.”
She gained a great passion for landscape in her ten years of residing in Indiana. She was known for her covered bridges, aging farmhouses, paintings of old wood and of course, the famous Midwest Amish people, whose lives surrounded her environment. Whenever she had the opportunity to travel she spent time at famous museums, taking the time to study the great masters’ works. Her favorites where Andrew Wyeth and the Impressionists.
In 1979 she was the Art League President. She was a painting instructor for many years at the Elkhart Art League and later she opened her own art school where she expanded into children’s classes and Plein Air classes. Many of the classes were taught on her thirty-two acre farm on the Elkhart River. During this period of the career she had several one-woman shows, and won numerous awards in juried art shows. While living in Indiana she decided to go back to college and finish her degree in Fine Arts and Psychology. She attended IUSB and studied under Harold Zista, Anthony Droge and Allen Larkin. These studies taught her to fall in love with portrait work. She moved to Southern California to be close to Laguna Beach and its beauty that she had heard so much about. Her goal was to “focus on her work and continue to improve techniques so that her work would speak clearly and simply capturing moments of intimate beauty through unity”. She wanted to “be able to leave behind paintings that would embody the present moment, paintings that would in some way touch the hearts and souls of others”. This had to be accomplished in her own spare time, as her next fifteen years were spent in management with a Fortune 500 Company. This position included a transfer back to Salt Lake City, Utah for ten years.
Her time in Salt Lake City was spent painting landscapes, commissioned portraits and Impressionist scenes from the river running through her back yard. Sherrie says, “I try to give each painting its own personality.” Her portraits capture mood and expression and her figurative work evokes a dreamy, romantic mood. “I try to make the figure seem at one with the landscape, an organic element as natural to the scene as the water, rocks and trees.”
Her favorite time in her studio is at dusk, “the mystical hours.” She works as her stereo chums out classical music. Her high level of energy is passed on to her paintings. She says, “In the beginning my work was tight and composed, consisting of unenthusiastic colors.” Today, I experiment with primary colors and a much looser style. Living on the river allows me to establish a dialogue with nature. It is where I turn for inspiration for my work.”
Several years ago Sherrie bought a home in St. George, Utah, “Kayenta” where she now resides with her husband and is living in the dramatic panoramic view of the magnificent Red Mountain. Together they enjoy and appreciate the incredible natural settings of the Kayenta area.
“I marvel constantly at nature and its infinite beauty. I’m working on the integrating my spiritual growth and personal life which includes my experiences as a wife, mother, and teacher, with my work as an artist.”