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   Artist Sherry McVickar Preserves 
  Chester County's Barns

Artist Sherry McVickarSherry McVickar has everything it takes to be an artist–a seemingly overflowing supply of creativity, a penchant for color, and a wild and crazy demeanor. Her love of painting and color comes through in her colorful impressionistic paintings of barns, a subject that she says comes from her wish to preserve them.

Sherry actually grew up in a barn. Born in Chester County some 50-odd years ago, she's the daughter of noted local sculptor and Meeting member, Paul McVickar, and his first wife, Alice Penza. "While my dad and his second wife, Clarita, were building their ultra modern glass house in 1957, we lived in a converted barn, replete with head stalls still intact for ease in the milking of the cows," she said. That was when she started painting, seriously.

Between Sherry’s mother, also an artist, and her artistically accomplished dad, she learned all of art's history and valuable lessons. " My mom and dad taught me everything I know. I've never had better teachers," she said. "They inculcated me with the Universal Truths about good art. Dad was an abstractionist in word and deed. Mom is more practical in her aesthetic. As for me, I just like colors."

And though Sherry had inherited some artistic skills from her talented parents, she went on to study at Sarah Lawrence College, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and in Florence, Italy. "I only mention a tenth of the places and people with whom I've studied," she added.

Century Oak Farm, Glenmoore, Pa.When Sherry returned to Chester County to live five years ago after living in Northern California for 30 years, she saw the exploitation of the farmland and open spaces, and it made her sick. So she set out to preserve some of the agricultural history of the area by painting lasting impressions of some of the County’s most endearing landmarks–its barns.

Sherry is also an accomplished portrait painter. "I see my paintings as portraits of the barns I choose to paint," she continued. "I’m telling their story. I‘m speaking out for them by showing their individual personalities and their staggering beauty."

Baldwin's Book Barn, West Chester, Pa.Once she was in California painting a friend's barn when his pet calf tried to walk on and eat her painting supplies. The calf, which she says probably weighed at least 250 pounds, could not be scared or shooed away. "His Daddy finally had to tie him up in an adjacent corral," she said with a chuckle.

While Sherry has crafted most of her barn paintings in oil on board or canvas, she also does watercolor paintings. "I can paint anything," she said modestly.

Sherry has had one-woman shows in San Francisco and Woodland, California. Currently her paintings are on display in the Chester County Art Association's Gallery in Exton Mall, where she is the reigning Queen of Sales. Beginning May 8, her barn paintings will be on exhibit at the Eagle Gallery in Eagle, Pennsylvania, not one mile from where she lived as a child.

When asked how she does her paintings, she replied, "These things don't paint themselves, you know..."

See more of Sherry's work.   

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