Today we have an interview with Sheila Kernan, one of the five artists participating in the Artist Ranch Project. Her work will be on display at the Western Art Show in the Western Oasis during the 10-day Stampede.

Calgary Stampede: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

Sheila Kernan: I was born and raised in Saskatoon Saskatchewan in a large family. As one of six children I was encouraged to follow my passions. At the tender age of three I began drawing and painting. It was through spending hours upon hours creating that I discovered my love for the arts. So it was no surprise that I would seek out the life of an artist. I enrolled in the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2003 and completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2006. In 2008, I was given the amazing opportunity to showcase my work at the Calgary Stampede, where I was the featured artist of the Stampede Rotary Dream Home. Over 100,000 people were exposed to my work and it was because of this experience that I decided to take the leap and become a full time practicing artist. Continuing to showcase my work through the Stampede Western Showcase programs.

Sheila Kernan

Fast forward to 2014 I am now represented by five elite Galleries across Canada. Achieving exposure through multiple sold out solo exhibitions, national awards, and media publications. My work can be found in many private, public and corporate art collections across Canada, US, and overseas.

Through continual development, exploration and innovation my work explores my passion for experiencing, observing and interacting with our world. I am excited to transpose my vivid imagination in to one-of-a-kind works filled with vibrant colour, flat shapes and unusual patterns.

CS: As an Artist, what inspires you?

SK: I am always excited to see what will inspire me next. For the world is filled with an endless array of fascinating subjects. With my camera on hand I am always eager to explore and document my surroundings for future studio use.

Along The Way I Stopped To See You Oil on Canvas 30 X 60 2014 $3305

I pay close attention to the many different characteristics of each unique environment. Absorbing the ambiance. I feel compelled to reflect my love for such moments on canvas. I draw upon sketches, memories and photographic references when producing my work. It is pure delight transcribing my many whimsical visions through paint gliding across the canvas. For a multitude of patterns and reflections form from the paint squishing, oozing and blending together. Surfaces become filled with thick impasto marks melding together to create conversations and ultimately a recognizable image. It makes me see the world in a new and exciting way. My work celebrates this. For I believe paintings should be alive. Filled with energy and excitement. I paint to share with you my understanding of the world. I paint to emulate the calmness of nature. I paint to create images where you can choose to let your imagination fill in the gaps. I paint to experience life. The world is breathtaking and I just have to capture it. The possibilities are endless!

CS: Why did the Artist Ranch Project appeal to you?

SK: I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Stampede Western Showcase. I strongly believe that if it was not for the opportunities I have had through the Stampede, I would not be where I am today in my art career. So when I was invited to participate in the Artists Ranch project I was incredibly excited. I would get to see a real working ranch and get up close to the animals. Something I had never really experienced. I am always up for new experiences.

You Caught My Eye Oil on Canvas 48 X 24 2014 $2255

CS: Tell us about your visit to the OH Ranch last fall. What was the most surprising/made the biggest impression on you?

I came into the project with a very open mind not really knowing what to expect and I truly had a blast. Getting to see how a real working ranch operates was incredible. I was fascinated by the history of the OH Ranch and found myself really trying to understand what life would be like on the Ranch both from a historical and modern day perspective. WOW, Is all I can say. Working on a ranch would be a tough job! I was instantly mesmerized by the vast diverse landscape the rolling hills, fresh water, and many varieties of grasses. I became especially interested in the wildlife. Although I had a close call with a bull who apparently was a little camera shy!

CS: How did your visit influence your work?

SK: It’s hard to say exactly how the visit influenced my work, but I would say that my colour choices in this body of work pay closer attention the amazing golden prairie hues. As well, each painting I produced for this show documents my time at the ranch and acts as exclamation point highlighting prominent scenery that really struck a chord with me.

CS: Anything else you’d like to tell us about being a part of the Artist Ranch Project?

SK: I just want to thank the Artist Ranch committee for giving me the opportunity to experience something new. I really enjoyed the whole process and want to give a big Thank You to all the committee members for all your hard work and dedication to this project. It’s truly a unique project. I hope you all enjoy my Stampede showpieces.