City sights, sounds revealed on canvas
Sherry Tseng Hill has enjoyed creating art for most of her life, but it wasn't until about four years ago that the Montrose-area resident was able to devote serious time to her painting.
Now, at age 52, Hill is presenting her first solo show.
City Sights, City Sounds will be at Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy, through Dec. 2.
It opened with a reception on Nov. 6.
Hill said she was very nervous before the opening, but also excited. The "City Sounds" component of the exhibit refers to her watercolor pieces' photo realism.
"I'm trying to capture the specific moment in time," she said.
Her watercolors include a piece set in a Galveston alleyway during the annual Dickens on the Strand festival. The painting captures tourists in the background, but it focuses on two men in the alley who could be homeless. A puddle in the alley reflects the colors of the sky. "I thought the contrast there was pretty interesting," Hill said.
The paintings representing "City Sounds" are made of a number of media, including acrylic paint.
"I wanted the acrylic to be more timeless and universal in time," Hill said. "I wanted to evoke what it's like to be in a big city."
That city could be Houston, she said, but it doesn't have to be local. Among the acrylic pieces is an abstract painting inspired by Houston's Discovery Green Park.
She created a small section in vivid colors to reflect the life and activity in the park. In the background is George R. Brown Convention Center and downtown's high-rises in grey, smoky tones.
"I wanted to evoke the imposing presence of the buildings," Hill said.
Hill, who lived in the Westbury area for 25 years before she and her husband Howard's recent return to Neartown, the area where they both lived as Rice University students.
Hill was 7 when she first started painting.\ "Most of my life I've done art of one kind or another, and I've experimented with all kinds of media."
During her years at Rice, she majored in architecture and art history. After graduation, she shifted her focus to her career, and then to family. "I took a break from hands-on art," she said. But when sons Nathan and Nicholas were grown, Hill decided the time was right to return to her earlier love, creating art. "Art is my first love. I would have done it all of my life if life hadn't gotten in the way."
That's not to say Hill hasn't found her work as a self-employed architect fulfilling. Her projects include homes, commercial buildings and space planning. These days, architectural images have been finding their way into a number of Hill's paintings
"It's also part of my life. Going back to art is interesting because I can now combine both worlds."
Friend and artist Edi Martin has enjoyed talking art with Hill far years. "It has given me such pleasure to watch her work grow," the Bellaire-area resident said.
Martin said she definitely has noticed the influence of architecture in Hill's paintings. "There's also a playfulness coming out in her work. I find it very lyrical. It almost feels like visual jazz."
For more information about Hill's exhibit, visit www.archwaygallery.com.
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