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Meet Sherry Byrd

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sherry Byrd.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sherry. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Raised in Memphis, TN, I began working at what was then called Memphis State University (Now U. Memphis) in 1974. My journey in higher education took me from U. Memphis to three other colleges and universities; the last one being Houston Baptist University. After a 45-year run including the last 21 years at HBU, I retired this spring.

After moving to Houston in 1998, we joined Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. There I had the good fortune to enroll in a “Creative Call” class offered by the Rev’d Genevieve Razim. Surrounded by writers, poets, photographers, textile artists, etc., I wondered what medium I could take up. A classmate encouraged me to try artist trading cards.

My husband scanned my cards that I had created and published them on Facebook; and nearly immediately I gathered a following. My friends and family encouraged me to try painting on canvas. That was the Fall of 2009. I took up the challenge and began working with acrylics on canvas.

I took my early work to the University to hang in my office. When Professor Michael Collins of Houston Baptist University’s Art Department saw the paintings, he invited me to enroll in his advanced painting class. It was Professor Collins who taught me to face a blank canvas, to mix paint and to wire my canvases for hanging. He also taught me the freedom to paint anything that I wanted.

In 2010, the Palmer Creative Artist Community invited me to participate in a mural project at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. The group gave me my own space to create my mural. Two years later, the group invited me to do a second mural.

The Palmer church then dedicated a space to be used as our parish art gallery; and I was named co-curator of the Fra Angelico Gallery. I currently work behind the scenes encouraging other artists, promoting showings, hanging art, and giving impromptu tours of the gallery.

When I first began painting, I could only create after work hours and on weekends. Now that I’m retired from higher education, I can work any time I like; and I do stay busy. My style has changed over the years. Today I am more focused on the color in my work rather than on the image I am painting. I regard my talent as a call from our Creator. How blessed I am to be surrounded by supportive friends and family who honor that call.

Has it been a smooth road?
Other than an occasional artist block, I’d say by and large, it has been a smooth road. My husband supports and encourages my work as an artist; and so do my friends – the same for my colleagues at the university when I was still working there. I know I have the permission to take chances with my art; to do whatever the creative impulse leads me to do; and to change my mind if that’s what I want to do. I’ve been blessed in that regard.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I specialize in creating acrylic paintings on canvas. My artistic style, which I call “Joyful Color”, is what sets me apart from others. Aside from one advanced course under Michael Collins, art professor at Houston Baptist University, I am self-taught.

I am currently about to open my second solo art show, this time at Sean Anthony Salons, 3300 Chimney Rock, Houston, TX, from August 12 to September 9. The reception is on August 17 from 7 pm to 9 pm. I will be showing 47 pieces of my art.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Here in Houston we enjoy one of the most culturally diverse communities in the United States. That is a real plus for an artist. Whether it’s music, dining, theater, visual arts or science and technology, Houston offers it. There’s never a dull moment.

If there was something I’d change about this place, I’d have to say the traffic, the heat, and the flooding which seems to happen on almost a yearly basis. Also, we have some of the biggest cockroaches I’ve ever seen; and I’ve seen some big ones.

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