Abstract painter Sherri Bustad has been traveling much of her adult life. “I was constantly absorbing. I was traveling to various countries to live for about 3 months at a time, to feel the place, and then let it come out as an expression of how I experienced emotionally that culture, its surroundings. Traveling now to paint, for me, falls in line with this self-discovery through shape, form, color, putting it down, then interpreting the outcome.”
Having traveled and lived everywhere from Cuba to California to Mexico to England and more, she was born in Austin, MN and now lives in Greece on Naxos Island, where she has a beautiful veranda overlooking the Aegean Sea. “With the Aegean, there is a daily conversation. Life here is very simple. Good food; hours of eating. I do not paint every day but every day my mind has formed paintings that come out eventually. I give them space and time to get there. And they do so of their own volition, like automatic writing in a way.”
Bustad was living in California when she first discovered her love of painting. A teacher put together a test group of five women who “were not particularly artists.” It wasn’t academic; the teacher wanted to work with average women and let them express themselves through painting. Once she moved to Nantucket, MA, she began selling her work in a gallery and hasn’t stopped painting and traveling since.
When she paints, she prefers complete solitude—no interruptions. “Inspiration is something that is my everyday life. Everything. Everything I see, smell, hear, becomes part of my paintings,” she said.
Her latest project, titled The Oracle Bones, is a 12-piece series based on a fascinating study of China during the Shang Dynasty. The pyromantic divinations (script on turtle plastrons) was an oracle for the kings. The bone was bored in two places and a hot poker inserted, then the cracked lines were interpreted. The questions proposed were about war, crops, family and so on in that order. “I was amazed in researching turtle plastrons, their complex colors and patterns,” she said. “I decided to paint them after reading David Sullivan’s book of poetry about his China travels called Seed Shell Ash.”
Besides painting and traveling, she offers an artist retreat every June on Naxos Island.
Here’s what Julie Ann Segal, owner of Metro Interiors, thinks about Bustad’s paintings: “Her work is very unique; the paintings, often on linen, have a watery, sophisticated feel to them. You can almost sense the sea and the island when you look at them.” View Sherri Bustad’s art in our Virtual Art Gallery where it is also available for purchase. Her two paintings below are titled “Undertow of Cyclamens”.