Sheila Underwood  – Statement

I have been painting for many years but became serious about my art after retiring from a long career as an interior designer.

Impressionistic best describes my work. I work from life, from photos and from imagination. I use large brushes and “juicy” paint. I try to convey movement and emotion. I like to take the ordinary and make it dramatic. I like exaggeration.

There are many ways I begin a painting. With several photos of my subject and a few props, one iris can turn into a vase of irises. I sometimes do a simple drawing to use as a framework. Other times I start with a blank piece of paper and draw with my brush and feel my way through a painting, brush drawing as I go. Some paintings begin with splashes of color and much “play” which begins to set a mood that suggests flowers and leaves or rocks and water that just magically appear. I then take it to the next level. This is an exciting way to paint. I never just follow a photograph. A well-known English artist that I once studied with said “Don’t paint the truth, paint a beautiful lie”.

The question I am asked most often is “How long does it take to complete a painting?” I very seldom take a painting from start to finish. I usually have several pieces going at once. This keeps me from overworking a painting. When the excitement of the painting dulls and I don’t know where I want to go with it, I set it aside and work on something else. I don’t plan out every detail before I begin but rather create as I go.

I love drama in my paintings. I don’t want to whisper flower; I want to SHOUT FLOWER!


Silk painting is such an exciting medium and requires much more planning. I stretch silk onto a wooden frame and draw with a resist called gutta. I use silk dye from France, which requires steaming to set. The dyes on silk flow and spread and do beautiful and exciting things. I use pure color and let it mix on the silk as opposed to premixing the color before it’s applied. My silk paintings are framed like a watercolor with mats and glass. Since I love the dramatic I also create huge silk hangings. These pieces are not framed but hang loose from a rod. These paintings are four feet wide and six or seven feet long.


Award Winning Artist

Gallery Los Olivos
Los Olivos, California
Central Coast Watercolor Society
Signature Member
El Camino Art Association
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

Sheila has participated in many
one woman shows including
Carnegie Arts Center
Alliance, Nebraska