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.
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
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."
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
more of Sherry's work.
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