It was after a 15-year career in visual merchandising (across fashion and homewares), and becoming a mother, that Victorian abstract artist Sherren Comensoli started painting seriously, and it’s since become her full-time job.
“When I had my first child nine years ago, I was basically at home full time, so to pass my time I needed a creative fix. I found myself painting a lot. When I filled up every wall in my house, I then started selling my paintings to friends, then friends of friends, then a few galleries and retailers and now I find myself having to paint daily to keep up with the demand,” says Sherren, who has a three-month waiting list for her commissions. “It’s an amazing space to be in. I’m lucky that I love my job! It’s never a chore and I enjoy every single brush stroke,” says Sherren who sells an affordable canvas print range too.
Growing up in rural Victoria, nature plays a key role in Sherren’s work. “I often go back to nature when I’m choosing my subjects. Trees, rocks, rivers, fields, mountains have all been inspiration for many of my paintings,” says Sherren who describes herself as a contemporary abstract artist who has two streams of work. “The first is my nature abstracts which I call my ‘botanical series.’ The second stream is more about abstract shapes and creating beautiful and harmonious colour palettes. The latter is my focus for 2017,” says Sherren.
“For me, abstract art is a way of taking what I feel, or see in my mind and my imagination, and putting it onto a surface for others to get a glimpse of. My abstracts normally have a visual reference such as a shape derived from nature (like a rock or mountain scape). The great thing about abstract art is that many people will see different things as their imagination takes them to other places,” says Sherren.
With a keen interest in interior design and styling, Sherren is careful to consider how her pieces will look in situ too. “I go about many of my paintings with a vision of how it will look in an interior setting. I’m very focused on interior design and styling and I make sure my paintings sit harmoniously in beautiful interior spaces. I also think that art should be versatile and able to be moved around to a few different rooms in a home,” says Sherren.
“I often help my commission clients with styling a room, or a whole house, in addition to doing a painting for them. With my painting acting as the focal point. I’m all about living like you are about to put your house on the market today and the photographers are just about to pop over for a photo shoot. I call this type of living ‘styled to stay’ as opposed to ‘styled to go.’ I know this seems a bit ridiculous but I actually find it relaxing,” says Sherren.
Working out of a gorgeous converted tool shed in her new Glen Iris home, Sherren struggles with her perfectionist tendencies. “The hardest decision for most artists is knowing when it’s finished. However, over time you learn to listen to your own inner voice and be your own positive critic. So basically, when I feel 100 per cent comfortable with all parts of the painting, then it’s done!” says Sherren.
“Many artists will tell you, that painting is highly addictive. I live and breathe my art and think about it all the time, it’s never far from my thoughts. I often wake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep because I have created a whole new exhibition in my head and I must get up and sketch it all down before I can go back to sleep. Creativity never sleeps!” says Sherren.