Artist of the Month - March 2023
Written by Linda M. Denver
Arts Council Menifee (ACM) is proud to name Sheryl A. Stradling of Menifee as the March 2023 Artist of the Month. She was chosen for her unusual talents in two creative fields, namely visual arts and literary arts.
Visual Arts: Stradling describes herself as a mixed media abstract artist. Mixed media describes artwork in which more than one medium or material is used, including paint, cloth, paper, wood, and found objects. Media add textures and 3-dimensional contrasts. Abstract art uses visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. It offers a logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visual reality. Also, Stradling uses acrylics and watercolors, pen and ink, and/or colored pencils in her art.
She has retired three times. The first was after 30 years, working as a technician in engineering design in nuclear power at Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Her second retirement was as a program manager in healthcare at University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. The third retirement was from Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic Scottsdale where she did healthcare research. After her first retirement, her three children were grown and she had more time to start her life as a professional artist. She had created art since her childhood. A B.A. in Philosophy from Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, an A.S. in Mechanical Electrical Technology from Sacramento City College, and an M.A. in Humanities, with a specialty in Art History from California State University-Dominguez Hills prepared her for her careers, with a minor in Fine Arts. In Seattle, she trained at Pratt Fine Arts Center, following her interest in printmaking. She has refined her talent by collaborating with individual artists.
Stradling’s creative process begins with meditation which lends itself to sharper focus and intuition. Her artwork is process-oriented, so each brushstroke or medium added determines the next step in the evolution of the art piece. She chooses to use 36” x 36” canvases or hand-printed and Asian papers. The large sized canvas represents the unknown where she explores the universe through the use of cultural and religious symbols and human form. She brings this all together in her home studio.
Art is the energy of her personal and spiritual practice to refine her sensitivities, to expand self-knowledge, and to provide a visual means for others to enrich their lives. The theme of her works is the oneness of humanity with each other, nature and the universe. She sees her audience as adults who appreciate art and beauty, a unique way of seeing, visualizing new dimensions of life’s meaning.
As a member of Arts Council Menifee, Stradling is eligible to share her artistic expressions in various venues. She has displayed her art in U.S. Bank in Sun City along with the previous ACM Art and Boutique. Since 2018, she has been a resident artist at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in Temecula for both visual arts and writing. Each year she joins other artists, writers and musicians/composers who use the quiet, serene, natural setting on 300 acres of a protected, secluded haven on Highway 79 South. Additionally, she shows at The Merc in Temecula in a small, intimate performance space for jazz musicians.
Stradling’s works have won awards from first place to honorable mention in Arizona’s metro Phoenix area in shows sponsored by the Mesa Art League where she is was a member, and at the Arizona State Fair where she was accepted to show yearly from 2010 through 2019.
Literary Arts: Stradling knew from childhood that art and writing would be her best professions because of her obvious interest in visual arts and journal-writing. She was influenced by her family of writers: mother, grandmother, aunt, uncle, brother and sister in both fiction and non-fiction. She passed on her talents to her daughter. After a lifetime of challenges, she was able to do both. She calls herself a “late bloomer”. She has been writing professionally for about 10 years. Inspiration for her writing comes from her eclectic interests, including family history, spirituality, philosophy, eastern religion, nature/ecology, architecture, interior design and gardening.
Stradling's writings are described as cross-genre: non-fiction, multi-generational memoir and a self-help book. She was inspired to write to help her heal from lingering, personal family issues and dysfunction. Her writing is the same as her art, a structured process for self-knowledge and a vehicle for her audience to travel into self-enrichment.
Writing her book, Faith, Power, Joy: Spiritual Guidance from 5 Generations of Remarkable Women, required genealogical research about which she knew nothing and learned it as she went along. Genealogical research uses a strenuous process of investigation to delve into a historical unknown. Stradling also sought to use her writing as instructive for her audience. The process yielded nuggets of wisdom which led to the writing into a self-help book . The book draws word pictures of how five women empowered themselves and changed their lives for the better. The five generations are herself, her daughter, and, in her maternal line, her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. The book was self-published through Amazon in May 2014 which is also a challenging process. Her writing talent of Faith, Power, Joy… brought awards on Amazon in multiple categories since it was published.
Stradling was a contributor to Journey of an Empath, a book about empaths. Empaths are people who sense energy and become overwhelmed by what they experience. The book expresses how they have learned to harness their special sensitivities and use them to improve their lives and help others. She also contributed to Akasha: Spiritual Experiences of Accessing Our Soul’s Infinite Intelligence, to be published in August 2023 through Amazon. The Akasha Field is considered by many to be the underlying energy field that supports the existence of everything, including human souls.
Arts Council Menifee is pleased to have Sheryl A. Stradling join our artistic community and recognize her as Artist of the Month for March 2023.
Visit Stradling’s social media at https://sherylstradling.com, Facebook, and Twitter at @stradartz.