New York-bound Mullaloo artist in special one-off exhibition

Sheridan McDonald with her still life titled Wedding portrait. Picture: Martin Kennealey d490990d
Sheridan McDonald with her still life titled Wedding portrait. Picture: Martin Kennealey d490990d

IT was a scenic painting teacher at WAAPA who noticed Sheridan McDonald’s rare talent.

The now Florence master-trained artist from Mullaloo had been doing a lot of set painting as part of her costume and set design course.

“I found I really liked it,” the 27-year-old told Community News ahead of a one-off exhibition this Friday in Wangara before she heads to New York.

She’d always been creative, making and drawing things, but she had chosen design over fine arts, thinking it more practical for a career. That decision and her talent weren’t lost on the WAAPA teacher, as Sheridan recalled with a smile this week: “You’re a coward for studying design,” he told her.

She hasn’t looked back since, applying to the Florence Academy of Art and being accepted for three years study before being invited back for a fourth year in a prestigious artist-in-residence role.

Works from Italy feature in the exhibition alongside others drawn from her travels, Yellagonga Regional Park and home beach, Mullaloo.

The Faun, a charcoal and white chalk study on hand-toned paper by Sheridan McDonald.

There’s a recent big still life – a wedding portrait with a difference – of tureen crockery she and fellow artist Matthew McDonald used at their wedding.

Matthew is from New York and the couple met at the Florence academy.

They’ve already rented some studio space in the Big Apple ahead of their move there next month.

In fact, Community News catches award-winning Sheridan on the phone about to fly back to Perth from Sydney after getting approval for her Green Card.

“For sure,” she said when asked if she was looking forward to New York.

“For art it is definitely one of the cultural hubs of the world.

“It will be a big change but a good one.”


Sheridan on her still life, Wedding portrait, 117 x 135 oil on canvas:

The crockery depicted in this painting was bought from op-shops all around Perth to serve the food at our wedding. In the glow and exhaustion after the wedding, I really wanted to make a painting to celebrate the event. The tureens were emblematic to me of bringing family together, sharing a celebration and a meal. and also, on a more personal note when I look at them it instantly takes me back to the madness of putting together a family event, the ridiculous errands associated and also how beautiful I found it all in the end.

Sheridan on her design course at WAAPA (though challenged to take up painting she doesn’t regret doing costume and set design):

Learning design processes has definitely influenced the way i see things.

While in Italy, Sheridan had a painting (portrait of a young Italian man) bought off the easel from a member of Florence’s famous Corsini family (fellow artist Fiona Corsini). Sheridan on the Florence Academy of Art:

Being part of a community that all want it. Being driven by other artists striving for the same skills. I miss that.