Artwork by Cheri McLaughlin
Hi, my name is Cheri and I’m a 38 year old mum of 3 from Liverpool, England.
I work 3 days a week in a specialist unit for young people who can’t cope in an ordinary school setting using art to help them through their problems. I love to see how their mood changes and the calming influence that art and painting in particular has on young troubled minds. I love the idea of passing on life skills that have helped me too so enormously over the years.
I mostly paint landscapes as I live in a place of outstanding natural beauty but I started out being mostly interested in portraiture and I would like to learn how to paint portraits like those I visit in galleries. My local gallery, The Walker Art Gallery has the most amazing collection. I can sit for hours immersed in the dreamworlds of the Pre-Raphaelite paintings, marvel at the vibrancy, even after hundreds of years, of the medieval altar pieces and wonder how on earth Rembrandt and Turner could capture the way light and dark play and fight with each other in equal measure so effortlessly but still be so completely different in their own unique and perfect style.
I went to University to study Fine Art at the turn of the Millennium but I feel like I was sold short in my degree. I naively thought in undertaking a Fine Art degree that I would be taught all of the skills that the Masters passed on to their young apprentices in their studios in Florence, Paris and Flanders. If I could have my time again I would not have undertaken a traditional degree but instead gone to study in Florence where I now know they do still teach the old methods. So this is what I want to learn, all of the techniques that I believe should still be taught in Universities today.
The understanding of the conceptual art of the contemporary art world is important for sure but I think it should be a minor module of any modern art education not the primary focus as it has become. It is an absolute tragedy that the amazing skill of the old Masters is being overlooked in favour of this approach in our Higher Education establishments and it undermines the talent and potential of so many who wish to learn, sweeping away any opportunity for real advancement in the modern art world where there is clearly a gaping hole of epic proportions for truly gifted artists. I don’t think I will ever be up there with the greats, perhaps once I could have been but now I just want to know and learn more about how they created such beauty and maybe just maybe I can feel fulfilled as an artist. People should vote for me because I represent a different view point to the model of artist that is thrust down people’s throats these days. I’m not politically motivated, I don’t have a message for the people, I’m not trying to shock anyone, I just want to make beautiful paintings, Art for Art’s sake and that is all.