Ocean invertebrates such as coral, sea sponges, and clams are just a few of the sea creatures that inspire my ceramic art. While sculpting, I often think back to the first time I visited the beach where I felt the might and awe of God. That visit inspired me to create my sculptures and wall hangings that reflect on our natural world and on my Christian faith. I live and work in Surry County, far from the shore, so I pull from my imagination and computer images while creating my work.
I derive my energy from nature and translate its power through painting. If I can capture that feeling of being overwhelmed, and overpowered, I have done what I set out to do. For me, the darkness in nature is as beautiful as the light. My art is an experiential trek derived from my hiking—thus my desire for large canvases. I want the viewer to step into the moment: feel the spray of a waterfall, hear the rush of a stream, or embrace the coolness of a shadowy path. I want them to investigate the light and the dark. Once captured the viewer can take part in the experience and escape into the landscape.
The art of batik has been with me for most of my life. My family lived in Sri Lanka when I was just a baby and upon returning to Richmond, VA, my mother hung batik wall hangings all over the tall walls of our old city home. Those images and the classic wax crackles of batik became a part of me that is difficult to describe in words.
Handwoven rag rugs adorned the floors of my childhood home and I was intrigued by the thought of taking discarded cloth and creating an article with renewed life. Years later when I inherited a 4-shaft floor loom from my mother, I had no weaving skills but a strong desire to learn. I found that education at Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem, NC, where I have taken several weaving classes over the past decade.
When stepping into Cheryl Robert’s studio the combination of texture and colors are almost edible. Exceptional views from her studio windows provide the backdrop for her inspired and prolific creativity. Cheryl, a fiber artist, demonstrates through her work the depth of her knowledge and the many complex ways she uses fiber to create stunning works of art.
From the time that I was large enough to carry and use a hammer and hand saw, I have been fascinated with wood and building. Wood scraps obtained from hounding carpenters, were assembled in various fashions by this pre-teen using only hand tools and nails. The teenage years with odd jobs allowed me to purchase hand power tools and improve the quality of projects. College at NCSU, and slightly more funds, allowed me to frequent the Craftsman tool department of Sears in Raleigh. This was my first attempt at joining wood with clamps, glue, and other materials. Entering the career working world allowed me to obtain bench power tools and expand my projects and work quality.
There’s nothing profound or mysterious to be found here- I paint because I love to paint. I enjoy finding a beautiful composition in the commonplace as well as the extraordinary landscapes that surround us in the Western North Carolina. It’s not always easy but when everything comes together the creation of a successful painting that will be appreciated for years to come is a very self-fulfilling endeavor. The challenge of learning how to create that success and the artist friends I’ve met who share the same passion has also been a great pleasure. I began my career as an artist late in life and soon understood the profound words of French Artist Edgar Degas that ‘Painting is easy when you don’t know how, difficult when you do’. The learning challenge is a lifelong pursuit, but one that provides great rewards.