Little Rock artist Cheryl Kellar says she is happiest in the studio, covered in paint, creating works that make her heart sing. Her water media paintings are full of color and drama, whether figurative or abstract.
Cheryl studied art with Jacqui Kaucher at the Arkansas Arts Center museum school for 15 years. Workshop chair for Mid-Southern Watercolorists for six years, she enjoyed the opportunity to work with many notable artists/instructors. Cheryl credits Mark Mehaffey with giving wings to her creative passions, Jane Angelhart for paving the way for her figurative work, Karen Vernon for saying yes to color, and Linda Kemp for showing her a new way of looking at everything.
Cheryl’s interest in fashion and design came from her early career as a visiting makeup artist in the finest department stores and specialty boutiques in the south. Several decades later, on a trip to Paris, she snapped some photos of store windows that intrigued her. Eventually she painted them and her love of painting mannequins and store windows converged with her passion for style.
Not long after Cheryl painted her first fashion window, her dear friend Suz was waging war with cancer. Suz had lost her hair, was very ill, and was very sad to think she might never see Paris again. Cheryl painted her first bald mannequin painting, “Paris on Her Mind.” It was filled with symbolism close to Suz’s heart. That was the first of many bald mannequin paintings created for Suz.
Suz eventually lost her battle with cancer, but Cheryl continues to paint her love into the bald mannequins. They represent the stripped away hallmark of a woman’s vitality that can never negate her personal essence. She sees the bald paintings as a statement of strength and passion, hope and encouragement, power and beauty.
Cheryl seeks out mannequins and intriguing window displays to photograph. These photos form the rich pool of reference material from which she works. The mannequins still wake her in the night and compel her to go to her studio to paint them into reality.
She creates her water media paintings employing traditional watercolors and also fluid acrylics. She enjoys painting on traditional papers as well as non-traditional supports such as Yupo (a plastic surface), canvas, and cradled board.
I began studying art with Jacquelyn Kaucher at the Arkansas Arts Center in 2002. I joined the Mid-Southern Watercolorists soon after my art education began and held the positions of Membership Chair, Special Exhibits Chair, Workshop Chair, and Newsletter Chair in the years that followed. The position of Workshop Chair afforded me the opportunity to seek out a variety of excellent artists/instructors to study with in the workshop setting. Most memorable to me are Anne Abgott, Jane Angelhart, Linda Kemp, Mark Mehaffey, and Judi Coffey.
I paint women of style – unique, real and imagined – who populate my world. I use bold, clean color, and create interesting textures not often found in watercolor paintings. My work is frequently described as contemporary expressionist, hip and edgy, and very vogue.