Artist Interview: Sherwin Ghaphery

Posted by Jenni Kirby - August 30 2022



Q. What inspired you to get into the arts?

A. When I was 9 years old my mothers friend showed me how to draw a chair, and I was so inspired that I haven’t stopped drawing since. Eventually, I got a degree in Education but was always still interested in art. In my free time I would take art classes and started seriously painting when I took a class with Virginia Harris in my 30s. When my children were older and going to college, I finally enrolled into the VCU Arts School and worked for five years to get a second degree in Fine Art. I feel so fortunate I was able to do both. My family has been so supportive of my painting, there is really nothing like your family!


Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?

A. I used to travel a lot, especially with Eleanor Cox and Betsy Kellum. I got to paint in fabulous places, like Provence which is one of my favorites. I typically paint from photographs to start, but never copy them exactly. It’s just recently that I have started to paint without photographs, which has been fun. There’s really no rhyme or reason to my creative process!


Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?

A. My biggest inspiration is museums. I love to visit museums, and always try to go to many when I’m abroad. It’s so exciting to see a painting in person that you have studied for so long. There is no comparison to seeing the work of old masters in person and being able to study their brushwork up close.


Q. What is your favorite subject matter to focus on and why?

A. I have always been so moved by landscapes. I remember being a child lying in the grass and looking up at the sky to see what the clouds would reveal. They capture the simplicity and bliss of youth – they have always been a source of inspiration.


Q. What are you working on now?

A. Right now I am reworking a painting that was not previously successful. I just finished a large scene of people at the ocean as well. They have both been challenging, very slow in finishing, but I am almost done with them.


Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?

A. Don’t give up. I think we are all inclined to say, “I can’t do that” or “that won’t work” but keep going because those challenges will benefit you in the long run. Good can come out of even the worst things.