CHARLESTON artist Sheryl Stalnaker is inspired by the outdoors and follows her passion by painting saltwater life and the beauty of her surroundings, as well as custom pet portraits for grateful owners.

“Looking at the moving, reflective water or changing skies and light is mesmerizing,” she says. Stalnaker often begins a new painting by observing the subject live, rather than from a photograph, which she explains helps her translate it more authentically to a canvas. She uses brushes and a palette knife to build up the paint layers and add texture.

“I want to transport the viewers away from their hectic lives and into the scene, where they can sense the morning air, feel the afternoon heat, smell the salt air or hear the sounds of nature,” she says.

Stalnaker also expresses the unique charm of beloved pets in her commissioned fur baby portraits. “My goal when painting pets is to capture their personality, which often includes painting the pet in action or in a favorite place,” she says.

The artist will be participating in the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition from May 22–June 7.

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