Tell us about you?
I was born in Sylacauga, Alabama – the Home of Jim Nabors who played Gomer Pyleon TV! It is a beautiful little town located between Birmingham and Montgomery. My Dad was the artist in our family. His trade was being a butcher but many nights at home, he loved to paint wildlife scenes in oil. He painted at our dining room table, told me not to touch anything but I could sit and watch. I would sit for an hour or more, in fascination, watching him paint. It was truly his “get away” from the everyday world. After Dad passed away when I was 10, art went out of my life until Iwas in Jr. High. I had a very special teacher who sparked my interest in art again, as well as nurturing my soul and my talent. I knew by high school I wanted to teach art, to empower and encourage others the way I had been helped at a time when I needed it most. I had to work part-time during high school and had 3 part-time jobs to make enough money to pay my way through college. It took me 7 years to complete my degree with Honors from Auburn University in Art Education with a minor in Art History. I taught art in grades K-12 for about 30 years, private lessons, and workshops for children and adults. I retired from teaching in 2015 and started Sherry Reese Fine Art. I also had my own photography business on the side in the 1980s, which is how I met my husband, Steve. After Steve and I were married, I worked with him and his family at Mervin Reese Photographers on and off for many years. Steve and I have had almost 38 wonderful years together, two amazing sons (Alex and Adam) and a beautiful granddaughter, Haley.
Tell us about your history with Omaha Artists Inc?
Once I retired from teaching, I started taking painting classes at Joslyn Art Museum. I wondered why I had waited so long to do this! I loved the comradery with others as well as learning new skills. I realized I needed an art group to belong with. So, I started researching different groups in the Omaha area. Being older, I was looking for diversity in ages and regular daytime meetings. Meeting Barbara Egr at a Manglesen’s art event, she suggested I come to an OAI lunch. Omaha Artists, Inc. fit the bill to a tee! I loved the structure and warmness of this group from the first time I came. I joined in 2018 and it felt like being with lifelong friends. I love the fun shops and being with other artists, finding out their story and seeing their varied and wonderful talents! I am enjoying the position of Vice President of OAI. I believe we should all get involved in whatever way we can to help OAI survive and thrive…help on a committee, get to know all the members you can, ask to be on the board. You will find helpful and supportive artists and friends. Put your fears behind you so you won’t be asking the question, “Why did I wait so long?”
How did you get involved in art?
As a teacher of art in public schools, you become a jack of all trades in art. You must know the subject to be able to teach it! That WAS fun! Experimentation helps you to learn a lot! COLOR has always been my inspiration! For about 30 years, my personal art was colored pencils and ink – sold some of my work through family and friends. Then, my eyesight started changing and I could not see those sharp details I was accustomed to doing. I then turned to acrylics as my new outlet.
Bright, colorful, quick-drying…thick, thin, mixed media; I do love what I can do with acrylics! I have been the Artist of the Month at Mangelsen’s and Blick Art. I also sell my work on my website sherryreesefineart.com.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I loved roller skating! I helped teach beginners and coach roller hockey in the 1990’s-early 2000s.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
PAINTING!!! I love all kinds of music and setting the mood for painting – from Classical to Smooth Jazz, Paul McCartney to Slash, synthesizer to the acoustic guitar – I have quite a variety. For the past 5 years (not 2020), I’ve gone out of state to weeklong workshops with different artists specializing in acrylics – Jan Sitts, David Kessler, and Robert Burridge. It is arelaxing and renewing experience!
Tell us about a couple of your favorite books you have read (name and author)?
I have read all the books (except for the most recent) of Stephen King and all of the late Michael Crichton. Can’t pick a favorite. I also like the book “First, We Have Coffee” by Margaret Jensen.
What are your travel experiences?
I have traveled all over the U.S. One of my most exciting trips was when I was 18. For three weeks, some friends and I traveled by motorcycle through the Appalachian Mountains, backpacking, hiking, and canoeing. I’ve also bicycled through Germany and Austria on a 2-week tour along the Danube River in2000.
What are you known for?
My Chocolate Chip Muffins!
What skills would you like to learn?
I am open to whatever might come along.
Has anything or anyone changed your life?
My husband, Steve. He has always been My Gift from God.
What is your favorite quote or saying?
“It is said Master and Student walk the path side by side. They share their destiny until their paths go separate ways.”
Artist Spotlight Member Column submitted by Reporter, Katie Johnson