Cheryl Petersen, ‘Golden Forest’, Mixed media on canvas, 160 x 90 cm
Cheryl Petersen is one of the most loved and collected artists here at Tusk Gallery. Her enchanted forests, whimsical creatures and vibrant abstract work showcase her unique talent to harness together many different medias and materials to produce stunning imagery and compositions. We were so excited to have received a selection of new work from Cheryl this week that we decided to check in with her and ask her a few questions about the love of her life – painting.
Can you take us back to the beginning Cheryl? What first kick-started your desire to become an artist?
‘I have always drawn or painted! I never consciously considered myself an ‘artist’… it’s just what I did. As a child growing up with my parents and my 5 siblings we never had a television (or a car) or even a permanent home. I went to 16 different schools, always moving around and drawing became my one constant that I took with me wherever I went. Also, always being the ‘new girl’ at school, being good at drawing was something that gave me an identity which motivated me to keep improving. I loved the whole challenge of creating something which would get the other kids crowing!’
Which artists have shaped your career the most?
‘There have been so many artists that have influenced me…in fact every artist in history has had some kind of impact on me. I go through stages when I am in love with a certain look and feel of a painting, so to pick out one would be impossible. At the moment I am in love with a lot of contempory artists, particularly abstract artists.’
Cheryl Petersen, ‘Orange Rush’, Mixed media on canvas, 152 x 122 cm
One of the remarkable things about you is the many different styles you work in and your mastery of them. Is there a common thread that links together some of your abstract work with your nature inspired pieces?
‘When I start a painting I always work off my mood. Sometimes I feel like letting go and just seeing what happens…it’s quite tricky sometimes to let yourself do that, especially if you have a brand new canvas that you don’t want to mess up. However when you produce something that is representative of how you feel it is so thrilling! It’s not relaxing, it’s exhausting but also euphoric at the same time. That’s when I do my best abstracts.’
‘At other times I just want to do something methodic, detailed and intricate, or I may want to do relaxing, calming and beautiful. I also love doing portraits. I love the way you have to look at every line and crevice of a persons face, but I always end up doing them too realistic. I only do portraits for my own satisfaction and to improve my technical skills. The only thing I really don’t like doing is traditional landscapes.’
‘I know that a lot of artists like to do the same style again and again and in some ways I admire them for their consistency, but that’s not me and if I appear to be ‘all over the place’, its because I am! I don’t want to conform to what the art world expects of artists these days, and I couldn’t if I tried!’
Cheryl Petersen, ‘Tribal Encounter’, Mixed media on canvas, 120 x 120 cm
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
‘The proudest moment of my career would have to have been when I realised I didn’t have to be a starving artist any more: that I can actually support myself doing something I really truly love.’
What gives you the passion and energy to create work everyday?
‘I don’t have a problem accessing my passion and energy to paint everyday. I love love love it and maybe that’s because I like to paint in different styles. I never force myself to paint if I don’t feel like it. I will never take on a commission if I know I wont enjoy it because the work always ends up looking stale, tired and lacks that certain something. Mind you, I do love a challenge! I love to be asked to do a commission on something really tricky, especially if it’s something I’ve never done before and especially if it’s really large! In fact, I wish somebody would ask me to do that!’
Lastly, what advice would you give to clients looking to purchase art work for the first time?
‘Well, of course the best place to go is Tusk gallery! I like to buy other artist’s work myself. I don’t buy for investment purposes, although I think it’s a good idea if you know what to look for. I buy because I really love the work and I don’t worry if it suits my house or if it will go up in value. I will buy something because I completely love it.’
Cheryl Petersen, ‘My Life’, Mixed media on canvas, 120 x 120 cm
It was such a pleasure to chat with Cheryl and hear the contagious enthusiasm and joy she has for her practice. We love that Cheryl isn’t afraid to follow her heart and doesn’t restrict herself to painting within just one style. Her passion for painting shines through her playful and experimental approach to each piece.
Come and have a closer look at some of Cheryl’s work at Tusk Gallery in South Yarra and Camberwell. We would love to chat with you about Cheryl’s work and materials!