headshotSherri Burritt is an artist based in Morton outside of Peoria.

For three decades she created works mainly with watercolor until about six years ago when she started experimenting with oil paints, enjoying the flexibility of the medium.

Her works focus on impressionistic style still lives as she plays with light and texture to create not just a scene but an emotion and feeling.

She holds an Associate Degree in Graphic Design and taken many workshops and studied with, Quang Ho, C.W Mundy, Laura Robb, Daniel Gerhartz, Roger Dale Brown, Elizabeth Robbins and Jeff Legg. She worked as an Art Director at PJS Publications for several national and international magazines: CRAFTS, SEW NEWS, SHOOTING TIMES, ROTOR & WING, and several Special Issues.

ILI: How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion and if so, tell us about it?  

Burritt: When I was a young child, my mother would take my sisters and me to our grade school during the summer for craft day. We did all kinds of projects. Any creative project I loved. I remember drawing horses for hours. There was a 4-H Fair each summer in our town, and I loved to see the horses. During school hours, Art was my favorite time. Luckily in Ottawa, Illinois, my hometown, we had a good art program from grade school all the way through high school.  In high school we had many classes or clubs to choose from. In college I went into Graphic Design, but I loved the art classes, including painting and clay pottery.

ILI: Illinois has been factored into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you?Aldag Lakehouse sm

Burritt: As I mentioned, I was fortunate to have completed fulfilling art classes in my grade and high school years and in college.  And all of this schooling was in Illinois, including graphic design, which was not broadly available at that time.  Illinois is also an attractive place for an artist to live with four distinct seasons and with urban, rural and big city areas all with differing art needs and career possibilities.  I was privileged to work for a national magazine publisher for about 10 years in Illinois starting right after college while applying my graphic design education.  At times I felt, “Wow! I’m getting paid to have this much fun!”, but of course, deadlines in that industry could be very challenging.  In summary, Illinois has been wonderful for my life as an artist.

Black Pot smILI: What opportunities does Illinois present to local Illinois artists?

Burritt: This is a great question. I don’t know if I can keep it short. There is much growth right now where I live in Central Illinois. We have “First Fridays” in Bloomington, Morton, and Peoria, which attracts visitors to open art studios throughout these communities.  Art fans can stroll through these studios and check out the great artworks which local artists are creating. Often there is live music as you stroll, and of course, food and drinks are always supplied. Great fun! Check out these sources www.peoriafirstfriday.com for Peoria and F1rst Fr1days on Facebook for Bloomington information. There are so many art groups also, including CIAO (Central Illinois Artists Organization), The Illinois Art League, which was established in 1960, and The Peoria Art Guild, which holds an incredible art fair each fall. All artists are juried in and come from all states and Canada. This fair is held on Peoria’s beautiful riverfront. There are also ArtsPartners of Central Illinois and Art & Society Magazine which are both outstanding organizers and promoters of art.

ILI: What do you like about Illinois?

Burritt: Illinois has all 4 seasons, and each has its own beauty. Yes, we all get tired of the winters, but we can have some beautiful snows. And fall is simply incredible. One of my favorite places in any season, but most beautiful in the fall, is Starved Rock and the nearby Matthiesen State Park. Those have both gorgeous parks and great trails.  Illinois has rolling hills, rivers, woods, prairies, and cornfields. Yes, I said cornfields. We have many international business people visiting our industries, and they are always in awe of the colors, size, and health of the corn and the magnitude of the acreage. And the Land of Lincoln is place of good people who are well grounded with friendly attitudes and hardworking values.Boyhood Treasures sm

ILI: What is your favorite medium to work in?

Burritt: A few years ago I would have instantly said watercolor. But I started oil painting about 6 years ago and I’m hooked. I do like experimenting with the oils. Adding cold wax and glazing mediums, starting with textured gessoed panels, and adding in gold or silver leaf. I like to experiment.

ILI: Where can people view or purchase your work?
Burritt: Locally you can see and purchase my work at Exhibit A in Peoria Heights (http://exhibitagallery.net), or Jefferson Street Gallery in Morton. I’m also online through ( www.dailypaintworks/sherriburritt ), Sherri Burritt Fine Art on facebook, and sburritt.art on instagram

ILI: What artist inspires you and why?

Southern Beauty smBurritt: I have many favorite artists. I’ve been very fortunate in the last few years to attend many oil painters’ workshops. Some of these are Laura Robb, Elizabeth Robbins, C.W. Mundy, Quang Ho, Daniel Gerhardtz, and a few more -- all excellent artists. I think C.W. is the one who has made the largest impact on me. I love his style and he loves to experiment. In one of his workshops, we all created a painting, and then he made us turn around, and without looking at the canvas, brush over it in all directions. Basically, destroying what each of us had worked on. We then rebuilt the painting, making it even better. That was so freeing. But if I could paint like anyone, it would be Laura Robb. She is like a “Paint Whisperer”.

I find inspiration in so many places --the outdoors, flowers, pots, magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram. I could go on and on. My photographs are a big source of painting ideas; I have over 30,000 on my computer.  For my still lives, I often land on an initial idea and then set it up in my studio. From there I take a photo and edit it by cropping, changing lighting and adjusting the mood further.  I study the set up and photograph it before I open my oil paints.