No one captures the beauty of rural Ontario landscapes quite like Greg Sherwood. The crisp blue skies and lush green fields that are signature Sherwood imagery evoke strong emotional ties to my Huron County roots. I have come to associate Sherwood’s artistry with a deep sense of place and home. Having recently purchased my own Greg Sherwood painting, I wanted to understand a little more about what inspires his work and his passion for rural Ontario.
Greg Sherwood began creating art in high school and has fond memories of bringing his sketchbooks and art materials along with him on canoe trips with his father. After leaving high school Greg attended the University of Western Ontario in London where he first studied geology and received his Bachelor degree. He returned to Western to study art and received his Honors Bachelor of Fine Art and later his Bachelor of Education from Althouse College.
Greg’s interest in science has shaped his life as an artist. He continues to explore his fascination with the natural world in his art, documenting the processes and forces that shape our environment in his oil paintings and mixed media work. Greg resides in Wingham, Ontario and his paintings can be found in collections throughout Canada and the US.
RURALIST – I know you are an Art Teacher at F.E. Madill Secondary School and a Painter, but can you tell us about yourself:
SHERWOOD – I was born in Vancouver but grew up in the Ottawa area. I settled in Huron county after graduating from the University of Western Ontario. I have been teaching art at the high school level for 24 years.
RURALIST – When did you become interested in art? How did you learn to paint? Who taught you?
SHERWOOD – My first memories of working with paint are of creating a small painting as a gift for my mother when I was quite young – since then I’ve been hooked. I owe many teachers for my development as a painter from my art teacher in high school to my professors at university. In particular I was fortunate to attend Western when painters like Roly Fenwick, Duncan deKergommeaux and Patterson Ewen were there.
RURALIST – What do love most about your work?
SHERWOOD – I love to paint – period. I love the smell of oil paint – the feel of it. I love to work with colour and texture. I love the physical act of painting.
RURALIST – What inspires you? Why?
SHERWOOD – Like most artists I get inspired by the oddest things. The way light reflects on water or the pattern of rust on aN old door hinge. I think I’m very attuned to visual sensations but I also like to think I have an interest in representing ideas as much as visual information.
RURALIST – Tell us about what interesting projects you are currently working on:
SHERWOOD – Right now I’m working on a series of paintings that feature abandoned farm houses. The rural landscape in Ontario is changing. Old family farms are abandoned and these buildings are often left to decay. These buildings are broken but beautiful.
RURALIST – What are few things you wish people knew about you?
SHERWOOD – Like most people I have a number of interests and aspects of my personality that are not always apparent. I’m a bit of a science geek. My first degree at university was in the sciences. I think that stems from my interest in the physical environment and influences my painting to a certain degree
RURALIST – What are some unique aspects of your work?
SHERWOOD – Unique is a tricky word. I believe my work has a distinct style but it owes a lot to painters like the American artist Edward Hopper. I love colour and I value many traditional approaches to painting but I’m not adverse to making up techniques or approaches that suit my own sensibility
RURALIST – Tell us a bit about your family and your other interests:
SHERWOOD – I’m married. My wife is a teacher. We have two sons, one just finished his undergrad degree at the University of Toronto and the other will be starting university in the fall. I love music and when time allows I still play the guitar. I’m a bit of a foodie and I love to travel.
RURALIST – What are your favourite places in rural Ontario?
SHERWOOD – I love many areas of Ontario - Huron County of course and its shoreline – especially in the fall, the Georgian Bay area, Haliburton and the Muskoka region and the drive along Superior’s north shore are among my favourite places.
RURALIST – Where can we purchase your work?