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Flagler Artists: Sheryl Coon

Inspiration can come from anywhere. When Sheryl Coon saw photographs of her grandfather during his service in World War One, she painted it. She had taken a monochromatic approach and chose not to focus on details of her grandfather and his squad mates as a way of giving a more haunted expression for the late soldiers. This piece is “Faces of War,” (right) and it gained Sheryl entry into the National Watercolor Society.
Like many artists in Flagler County, Sheryl joined the art community later in life. Originally from Fort Lauderdale, she was a Navy spouse. She and her family had traveled around the country and settled in Illinois until both sons went to college.
Sheryl attended a workshop hosted by the local art league in Morris, IL. Sketching had always fascinated her and sahe had had no formal education in art prior to this. The teacher was the then-vice president of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America (TWSA) and had welcomed Sheryl warmly. This initial positive experience would continue with the Palm Coast Art Foundation.
“They have been very generous and very helpful,” she says. “Watercolor pulled me in. I don’t know why, but there was something about it.”
Sheryl and her husband had vacationed in Grant Haven and made the full move to Palm Coast. She kept herself active in the community; attending any workshop she could find and being active in the art society. For example, the Transparent Watercolor Society of America accepted her onto their board in 2008 as secretary and being promoted to Exhibition Chair two years later. In this position, it was her responsibility to sort through entries for exhibition, narrowing anywhere between 600 to 1000 entries to 80.
Notably, she was president of TWSA during the Covid epidemic. Through her careful leadership, and adhering to safety requirements and procedures, she could keep her galleries and workshops going with no one in attendance reporting being sick.
These workshops hold a special place for Sheryl because it’s through here she learned so much about art. She has expanded from the vintage pieces like Faces of War and gotten into abstract and nonrepresentational. Up next will be mixed media and acrylics.
This constant motion and development has granted Sheryl the opportunity to be exhibited in several organizations. Alongside the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, there is also the Florida Watercolor Society, International Watercolor Society, and National Watercolor Society.
Readers can find an example of Sheryl’s work at Marineland. They have accepted the donation of a six-foot fiberglass turtle, sponsored by the Flagler County Art Foundation, named Max.
With Sheryl painting Max, the hope was to help in bringing art education to the community. It was also a new and exciting medium for her, painting on fiberglass. The turtle is named after a fellow artist, friend, and mentor to Sheryl, named Peter Max.
With such an extensive resume in the art community, Sheryl is hoping to take the many artists with their own unique voices across Flagler and bring them all into a stronger community.
Ideally, the community can develop a relationship with the businesses in the area. Dentist’s offices, banks, restaurants and other locations can all showcase different paintings on their walls for customers to peruse during their visits. All of the pieces are with the price tags on so they can be purchased then and there. No one expects to take home a painting with their teeth cleaning or opening a checking account, but it will always be a fun story to share with house guests.
It is Sheryl’s hope to work on building another art community in Flagler County by hosting classes and workshops and reaching out to local artists.
As for how her own experiences have helped to shape her artistic career she said, “If there is a medium or interest you have, don’t give up. Keep trying.”
It also helps to have inspiration as Sheryl did so many years ago as she created the piece of artwork that helped to launch her career. inspiration and persistence have served mnany artists well and Sheryl is living proof.