My Journey

I have not taken a straight route to be a painter. After post secondary school in Montreal, I received two graduate degrees in clinical psychology. I spent a couple of decades working as a psychotherapist in Ottawa, Canada. It was highly rewarding and hopefully I helped many people, but then I became ill and was diagnosed with Lupus. I needed to retire from this profession as my illness produced some debilitating symptoms that drained me of the energy necessary to work with people so intensively. I’ve been painting as long as I am living, and in fact I went to some rather serious art schools, so I decided to devote whatever energy remained to focus on painting.

Initially, I painted the streets of places, not really knowing what subject matter I wanted to focus on. This work was readily accepted by viewers, but the subject matter although quite charming, felt impersonal.
https://www.sherylluxenburg.com/previouswork/streets-canals/
https://www.sherylluxenburg.com/previouswork/streets-of-old-montreal/
https://www.sherylluxenburg.com/previouswork/from-grammercy-to-chinatown/

Then one day around the corner from where I live, I stumbled upon a large dumpster full of beautiful antique smashed windows. I became strongly attracted to these objects and found myself wanting to paint dirty glass, damaged objects and garbage in general. My family and friends thought I had gone completely mad. The years passed and I easily moved on to capturing people who were unfortunately in compromised situations. The very compassionate psychotherapist in me, found herself painting portraits of homeless people and basically just plain wonderful life on the streets of Europe. I used the proceeds of sold work to raise money for the homeless, HIV Canada and Africa.
https://www.sherylluxenburg.com/previouswork/life-on-the-street/

Then a few years later, I stumbled upon several automobile salvage yards while out on a leisure drive in Miami with my stepfather, Marvin. We both became fascinated with these wrecks which helped me obtain substantial resource material to paint the body of work called Shadow Of A Former Self. This series is dedicated to the memory of Marvin who passed away in 2016, and accompanied me many times during these visits.
https://www.sherylluxenburg.com/previouswork/shadows/

Although my intention was to create a comical spin with this series, the cars are a metaphor for my aging Lupus body. Low and behold from struggle comes good things, and on a much more positive note, I am thrilled to announce that four of the paintings in this series will be featured in curator David Wagner’s museum tour called ‘Luster’ which travels across the United States beginning March 1, 2018 and runs for 2 1/2years. So as you read, I have found my voice. I hire models and/or choose objects in which through them I can project my own journey by creating a highly specific environment and story line. When I worked as a psychotherapist I validated the patients’ experience, now I am validating my own. This past decade, I’ve been especially fascinated with the effect of water and the figure.

https://www.sherylluxenburg.com/previouswork/in-the-shower/
https://www.sherylluxenburg.com/previouswork/condensation/
https://www.sherylluxenburg.com/previouswork/coming-of-age/
https://www.sherylluxenburg.com/previouswork/wet-surfaces/

In sum, I believe many artists paint portraits to capture the essence of the model who is sitting for them, but I strive to capture myself. I feel I am more effective expressing myself through my paintings then in speaking or writing. This is not at all to say that when I’ve been commissioned to paint a portrait of someone, I don’t paint to capture the model, of course I do, but somehow I find it a bit more authentic and ultimately more satisfying painting my inner journey. In so doing, I can access a sense of depth which probably translates into making better paintings.

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