Tag Archives: local artist

Art by Sharell

Sharell Whipple graduated in 2010 with a degree in animal biology. Soon after, she began a petsitting business.

“I took really nice photos of the pets and left them for the owners to find when they came back. One day, I took one of the photos, painted it, and gave it to the family as a Christmas gift,” Sharell recalls. “That was the first time I experimented with painting, and I fell in love with it.”

After her first piece was complete, Sharell continued painting pets, and eventually expanded into nature scenes, keeping her vibrant, colorful feel.

“I think painting on wood adds that extra element of nature. Also, a lot of the wood I paint on is extra smooth and sanded. It doesn’t have that texture that canvas has, so I can blend differently on wood,” she explains.

Many of Sharell’s nature pieces are influenced by her adventures with her husband. One of her early works was a Blue Ridge Mountain scene. At the time, she was living in California. She painted the landscape with acrylic paint, and added the quotation from John Muir, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” It’s the one piece that she has never sold because she loves it so much, and it now hangs on her bedroom wall.

Sharell can often be found creating art in the bay window her red brick home surrounded by a quiet neighborhood in those same Blue Ridge Mountains she painted just a few years ago. There, she can see deer walking through her front yard. She can hear the creek trickling right outside her window. It provides a connection to nature that translates gracefully into her art. However, sometimes she needs to step outside her peaceful home to spark creativity.

“I feel most inspired to create pieces when I’m away from my studio. When I’m out backpacking in the middle of nowhere and it’s quiet, the fireflies are glowing, and the total tranquility of beautiful sunsets surrounds me. I’ll go back to my studio, and I may not paint the sunset, but I’ll use the colors to paint a completely different subject matter,” she says.

You can find Sharell’s work at The Big Latch on Roanoke at Roanoke College on August 5, Riot Rooster on November 17-18, and locally at Kozy Comfort Kountry Store in Hardy. If you can’t make it to any of these locations, please check out her work on her website, www.artbysharell.com.

Southwest Virginia Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker

If you need a little inspiration to get into the holiday spirit, look no further than Southwest Virginia Ballet’s 20th production of The Nutcracker! Beautiful music, lush scenery, and lavish costumes perfectly complement E.T.A. Hoffmann’s timeless story as patrons of all ages have their imaginations sparked by a Christmas tree that grows to huge proportions, mice and soldiers in battle, and snowflakes whirling through falling snow.
The Nutcracker is a timeless tradition in Roanoke. Those who attend a performance every year know that each one offers something different. Audiences will be treated to new choreography and costumes with this production. Perhaps most importantly, the central message of this performance is, “Love will prevail.” With all of the chaos happening in the world around us, it is a helpful reminder to inspire happiness in our community for the holidays.
“You will feel the love and joy of the people on the stage. The goal is to help the audience enjoy life,” says choreographer Pedro Szalay.
That goal is one that the dancers and artists take very seriously. The students involved have made sacrifices all year to perfect their performances including attending rehearsals on Saturdays and Sundays and even missing school dances.
High school senior Katie Munson will dance the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy. This year marks her 12th performance in The Nutcracker. She began at a very young age as a reindeer in the play. Under the guidance of Szalay, she has blossomed into a performer that can fill the demanding role of The Sugar Plum Fairy .
“This role is very technical,” explains Szalay. “You need to be regal. She is the guider of the Land of the Sweets and everyone looks up to her. It is about the technique and the artistry. Katie has both.”
“This year is special because it is my last performance [as a student of Southwest Virginia Ballet],” says Munson. “I have had an amazing experience with them, and am grateful for the opportunity to showcase the artistry and talent that go into the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
The cast of this year’s production will include the 57 members of Southwest Virginia Ballet’s junior and senior company as well as over 150 community members from the ages of seven through “adult.”
Performances will take place at the Berglund Performing Arts Theatre on Saturday, December 12 at 2.p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 3 p.m. You can also purchase tickets for Clara’s Tea Party, a special pre-performance event on Sunday, December 13 at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.svballet.org.