“Blagaj: A Cliffside Wonderment” (2018) by Sherri Huang
Oil on canvas. 18x24 inches. Sold. Blagaj tekija in Bosnia is a sacred architectural wonder that sits in a gorgeous corner of the world. Bosnia is a significant place to a good friend of mine from school who wasn’t old enough to remember his paternal grandparents from this region. When my friend came to me with options of what he would like me to paint, Blagaj immediately captivated me — just look at that view. I also chose Blagaj because it looked like a challenge that would help me grow as an artist. It would be the biggest canvas size I’d work with in the few years I had been making oil paintings, require new techniques I would have to teach myself, and incorporate elements from two completely different photo references. It was an ambitious project, for sure. It didn’t help that I had been traveling and working another full-time job contract at the time, making it difficult to find my focus, space, and creative energy to get started on the painting. At last, it is complete and I am so grateful for my journey with it. It was such an honor to create this piece.
“Solitude” (2020) by Sherri Huang
Oil on canvas. 11x14 inches. Private collection. This textured landscape oil painting is based on a photo I had taken at Mirror Lake Trail in Yosemite National Park (California) during one of my first visits to the park. I was inspired to work on this piece during a time of isolation and quarantine in a world filled with uncertainty and turmoil. I ultimately decided to title this painting “Solitude” — I am reminded there’s a beauty to solitude. It can be difficult to see it as beautiful at first, depending on the circumstances that might lead us into solitude, and solitude may look different for all of us. But, one thing I have noticed during this time of self-reflection and deeper inner work is, when I open up my heart and mind to possibility, I am better able to see the opportunity for growth in every challenging and painful experience — better able to see the beauty in solitude, the beauty of peace and quiet, the stillness that is so important in order for us to reflect ... heal ... regain balance ... and begin anew. And as I’m learning, pain isn’t inherently bad — pain makes us aware and conscious. Our world is long overdue to wake up, to rise up.
“Mallow” (2015) by Sherri Huang
Oil on canvas. 11x14 inches. Private collection. The hibiscus is easily my favorite tropical flower. My first time admiring the whimsical beauty of the hibiscus was when I sketched one for my cousin who is fond of Japanese culture. In Japanese, this flower means “gentle” and is often given in honor of visitors. I titled this painting after the flower’s large plant family Malvaceae, or the mallows, which actually happened to be a perfect compromise with my playful desire to name it “Marshmallow” — you know, because white and fluffy. This painting is the fruit of my labor during a summer I spent with my family in Chicago. At the time, I was in between careers and trying to restore my balance and creative energy. I ended up leaving home again after a couple of months and transitioned to working as a traveling medical speech pathologist while working on my paintings on the side.
“Hope” (2015) by Sherri Huang
Oil on canvas. 16x20 inches. Private collection. In November 2014, I set foot in the state of California for the first time ever and spent a week with my special someone (whom I had met while oil painting together). We visited San Diego and explored his old stomping grounds from when he had moved out there from New England once upon a time. One afternoon, we went running together on this secluded beach at the bottom of some steep cliffs. We caught some breathtaking views of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean horizon. I based this painting off one of my photos from that day. This painting has been my most relaxing and effortless one to create. To me, this mirrored sunset seascape is romantic, calming, and hopeful.
“Mountainside” (2014) by Sherri Huang
Oil on canvas. 12x16 inches. Private collection. This one is my first palette knife painting — so much fun to create. During my early 20s while living and studying in western Massachusetts, I often took scenic road trips with my friends through the region. We visited Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire for the Fourth of July for two years and traveled up there for long weekends in the fall. Being a non-native in New England, I was a shutterbug with my camera, of course, whenever the fall season rolled in with its vibrant foliage. This view is from the Kancamagus Scenic Highway in New Hampshire.
“Vermont Getaway” (2014) by Sherri Huang
Oil on canvas. 12x16 inches. Private collection. I was born and raised in the impressively flat Midwestern U.S. and, even though I spent much of my young adulthood in New England, I still find mountains surreal. There’s something daunting yet majestic about them. In late September/early October of 2012, I was fortunate to attend a weekend retreat with friends at a beautiful rustic cabin in Vermont, surrounded by the Green Mountains. It was my first time ever driving up steep, winding mountain roads. This painting is based off a photo I had taken that weekend on a peaceful morning walk around the lake.
“Aurora” (2014) by Sherri Huang
Oil on canvas. 16x20 inches. Private collection. I am that person who is often looking up at the sky and searching for the stars and the Moon. These are things that make my heart happy. I appreciate a quiet camping trip, a peaceful hike through nature, and getting to see a star-speckled night sky, shooting stars, and supermoons during my travels across the U.S. and around the world. The views I’ve caught in the middle of Colorado and Kansas would be some of the most unexpectedly amazing so far. I feel humbled by how the starry night sky can serve as a beautiful reminder of how vast our universe is, but also how connected we all really are to one another. I have yet to experience the mysterious and mesmerizing Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in person and I dream of going to experience the wondrous sight of them one day.
“Mystic” (2014) by Sherri Huang
Oil on canvas. 12x16 inches. Private collection. I have admired water lilies and lotus flowers since I was a young girl. They emerge beautifully from the muddiest of surroundings, serving as inspiration to be persistent through the tough times in life. Water lilies have a rich history in China, one of their original places in the world. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from the Guangdong province of southeastern China, and so I grew up with the privilege of learning the culture, the languages, and, of course, enjoying the delicious Cantonese food and soups for which the region is known. In Chinese culture, water lilies represent unity, a hundred years of love, as well as purity of heart and mind. They are often depicted with my godmother from childhood, Guan Yin, known as the Buddhist Goddess of Compassion. So water lilies naturally have a significant and symbolic place in my heart. Around the time when I started working on this piece, a very special someone first entered my life — “mystical” would be a fitting word to describe our meeting and connection. I have fond memories of our experiences painting next to each other back then. Purple is also a mystical color to me, representing healing and our inner spirit.