It’s always sunny in Sherstin Schwartz’s abstract Life of a Paintbrush.
Underwater galaxies await in Sherstin Schwartz’s creative playground, Life of a Paintbrush. The imaginative artist uses a variety of materials, from oil and paint to clay and sand, to create colorful, textural landscapes for curious minds to explore. Sherstin shared her inspirations and a glimpse into her vibrant creative life.
Where did you grow up, where do you live now, and does your geography influence your art?
I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and still currently live here. The long winters here definitely made me want to fill my home and life with as much color as possible, which is one reason why I use every color of the rainbow in my art. When I was a child and teenager, my family would go on camping trips to northern Minnesota by Lake Superior. The breathtaking views and being surrounded by nature are what made me want to get into photography at an early age. I still gain a lot of inspiration from that area in my work today, which is very centered on water and textured rocky landscapes.
That’s a great reason to bring so much color into your work! What are some other inspirations for your designs?
That’s such a hard question because I gain inspiration from everything! Since a lot of my work is 3D and highly textured, I look at textures in the real world and often study them through my macro photography lens first. When the weather is warmer, I go on what I call “texture adventures” and I try and find interesting leaves, tree bark, rocks, mushrooms, and plants in nature. I also study the textures of coral, lichen, and microscopic views of bacteria to gain inspiration for funky shapes. Sometimes inspiration hits me in an unexpected way, such as while cooking and seeing how oil interacts with water or slicing a cabbage open to discover the many layers inside. My background as a floral designer has also helped inspire many of the color combinations you see in my work.
You do achieve so much texture in your images! What materials do you work with for your various types of designs?
In my macro photography, I use a combination of water, paint, and oil mixed together to create Aquatic Galaxies. In my textural painting work, I use mainly acrylic paints, texture paste, sand, rocks, and recycled glass. I also create coral landscapes, which I make with polymer clay combined with the texture materials.
Beautiful! What are the greatest challenges of your work?
The greatest challenge for me sometimes is taking time to rest and take care of myself. Telling myself it’s okay to take a break and it’s fine when I’m not feeling inspired to create. Taking time for self-care is important as an artist so we can regain our energy and focus.
That’s wonderful advice. And what are the greatest rewards?
I think the greatest reward of my art is hearing how my art impacts people who view and own it. When people tell me that my art fills their day with positive energy and happiness, that makes me feel like I’m going on the right path. Anytime I can inspire others to create and escape into my magical world is what makes me really happy.
Those are lovely reasons to create! Outside of making art, what are your everyday inspirations?
I find inspiration in a lot of fantasy movies and video games with bright colorful landscapes and alien plants. I’m always fascinated by science, outer space, and theories of alternate realities. With my art I try to imagine what would be the craziest and most colorful reality that I could escape to in that moment and try to create that. I want people to feel an escape from their current reality when they view my work.
That’s exactly what your images convey! What’s one truth you’ve learned as an artist?
That you must experiment and get out of your comfort zone as much as possible. There will be epic failures, but that’s all part of the process! Don’t stress too much about being perfect and getting things right the first time. Perfection isn’t even real anyway, so just have fun.
Yes! Love that! Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
Make art every day! Even if it’s just one small thing. Being consistent every day along with focus will make you a better artist!