Modern British Impressionism by Sherree Valentine Daines

Sherree Valentine Daines is quite simply the face of Modern British Impressionism. Technically brilliant and endlessly vigilant, she creates masterly evocations of some of the most beautiful elements of British life. The authenticity and accuracy of her observation is softened by her impressionistic approach, her subtle hand blending each detail into a creation of captivating elegance. She has recently released several new limited editions based on her collectable children paintings within the freedom of the countryside. They are now on display at Artworx Gallery. 

Sherree talks about her work, “As a Modern Impressionist and figurative artist I am fascinated by the effect of colour and light on a subject rather than the subject itself. I also love to explore the ideas of beauty and joie de vivre, so I tend to seek out scenes which guarantee I will find exactly what I’m looking for; days out at Henley, kite flying on Box Hill, trips to the seaside with the children, all these give me the inspiration I need. I find the colours, the movement, the fall of a piece of fabric, the interplay of light and shadow all cry out to be captured on canvas.”

“My art is based on observation, interpretation, beauty, form and compositional balance, and I use oils on canvas which I believe to be the purest medium available. But while I adhere to these traditional artistic values I still operate strictly within the parameters of modern life, painting decisive moments from rugby matches or producing portraits of TV presenters in front of cameras, in a way that I trust communicates with a contemporary audience.”

Art by Sherree Valentine Daines

Art by Sherree Valentine Daines

As one of the UK’s most formidable contemporary artists Sherree has an impressive track record of exhibitions at such venues as the Tate Gallery, the Barbican, the New English Art Club and the Lord’s Museum. Her unquestionable virtuosity has made her a favourite with many celebrity collectors including members of the British Royal Family. Famous names in the world of show-business have sat for her including Joanna Lumley and Michael Parkinson. She has been televised painting members of the England cricket team, and as official artist to the Rugby World Cup she produced magnificent commemorative portraits of Martin Johnson and Jonny Wilkinson, both of which were bought by the stars concerned. Her recent projects have included the publication of ‘First Impressions’, a stunning hardback book celebrating her life and career, and a starring role in the Christmas Special of the TV Series ‘To the Manor Bowen’ in which she was shown painting portraits of Jackie and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. But despite this impressive list of artistic achievements, her career evolved from almost whimsical beginnings.

Born in Effingham in Surry, Sherree went to school in Leatherhead. At 18 she moved to London to pursue a rather staid and sensible career as a legal secretary. A bright girl and a fast learner, she soon found herself with time on her hands and began to indulge in some idle sketching. Colleagues, clients, even London’s ubiquitous pigeons appeared on her yellow legal pads, and looking objectively at her skill, she realized that she was in the wrong place altogether.

Art college beckoned and at the age of 20 Sherree enrolled at Epsom School of Art where she spent four years studying. Epsom was a highly respected, rather traditional institution and the Fine Art course was run on formal lines. Life models were regularly employed, form and composition were everything, and students were expected to master their art before they departed from it. It was here that Sherree’s distinctive style began to develop; as her training progressed she began to specialize more and more in figurative work and to produce pieces of unusual beauty and maturity for a student. Her penchant for concentrating on the light and shading within a scene led her down the route of impressionism, and the influence of artists such as Renoir and Monet can clearly be seen in her compositional technique.

Gathering Bluebells by Sherree Valentine Daines

Gathering Bluebells by Sherree Valentine Daines

The first Summer after graduation Sherree set herself up in Cornwall. Here she travelled around the villages and harbours painting the impossibly blue skies, beautiful countryside and beaches and above all, the people. Turning her considerable talents to persuasion and promotion this audacious and irresistible young woman talked the head teacher of a local private school into allowing her to mount an exhibition on the premises. Having borrowed the money for framing, drinks and invitations and invited everyone she could think of to the show, she found that by lunchtime she had made enough money to repay all her debts and by the end of the day she had sold everything and taken several commissions.

The fact that she could make a living from artistic endeavour came as a revelation to Sherree. With her usual energy she set about painting in earnest and locating more venues for exhibitions. From a small local theatre she moved onwards and upwards, steadily gaining a loyal and substantial following, until she was offered a one-woman show at the Barbican. This brought with it a huge stroke of luck in that the exhibition coincided with the opening night of “Les Miserables”, bringing in a large and influential crowd. As ever Sherree’s impressive talent combined with her great personal charm and London really began to sit up and take notice.

Summer Poppies by Sherree Valentine Daines

Summer Poppies by Sherree Valentine Daines

Around this time Sherree gave up her “day-job”, designing jewellery for the prestigious Parisian company Chaumet, and turned her hand to painting full time. She spent her days moving around the city in all weathers, from the busy street markets south of the river to the opera crowds hailing cabs in Covent Garden. Anywhere that people were, Sherree could be seen, sometimes with pencil and sketchbook in hand, but more often than not brandishing her paintbrush in front of a precariously balanced easel. As she herself puts it, “when I was starting out as an artist I painted anywhere and everywhere. With my easel, palette and paint-spattered clothes I suppose I cut a slightly unorthodox figure but this worked to my advantage as I met a lot of interesting people. Amazing how often individuals come up and talk to you when they think you may be a little eccentric…” Continuing to exhibit regularly, she soon came to the notice of the movers and shakers in the cultural world and won a number of accolades including the Laing Landscape and Seascape Competition and the Young Artist of the Year Award from the Royal Portrait Society.

Daisy Meadow by Sherree Valentine Daines

Daisy Meadow by Sherree Valentine Daines

Sherree adds, “Children make a wonderful subject for an artist. When you encounter that level of natural freedom and lack of pretension it can be very liberating and I find that I engage with my subject in a completely different way. I am generally rather a stickler for the somewhat classical attributes of balance and technical accuracy, but with these paintings the censor in my head finds it hard to keep pace with my paintbrush. Consequently they are amongst my most spontaneous and I hope they communicate some of the joy I experience when I create them.”

Field of Sunflowers by Sherree Valentine Daines

Field of Sunflowers by Sherree Valentine Daines

For more information about Sherree Valentine Daines and her work visit:

Sherree Valentine Daines at Artworx Gallery

Alternatively call 01543 502971 or email
Artworx Gallery, Cedars Business Park, Avon Road, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 1QJ.

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