In the Studio: Process of a Painting with Howard Sherman

In this Process of a Painting, painter and collagist Howard Sherman (NAP #60, #72, #90, #108) gives great insight into his process, which is based on experimentation, intuition, and action. Sherman does not have a formal approach to his works, which he feels out as he goes, much as many artists do. His approach is additive and subtractive though, and he finds the end result and the painting’s completion at unexpected moments during this experimental time.


Howard Sherman | "Edgy community of unconventional types", 70 x 60 inches, acrylic, canvas and marker, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

In his own words, “I have had a long-standing interest in creating paintings that mix muscular abstraction with a playful cartoonist sensibility. The results have been commanding and humorous. My most recent work has included a disruption of my painting’s surfaces with collage in a raw and powerful way.”

What I love about Sherman’s process is that it is not necessarily what you expect, if you’ve only seen his finished works. It’s a fun, investigational journey, resulting in witty, playful, and wonderful painted finishes. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Howard Sherman | blank canvas. Courtesy of the artist.


Howard Sherman | beginning phase and a “wonderful accident.” Courtesy of the artist.

Sherman notes, “In the beginning of this piece, there was a wonderful accident that I wanted to build around. Specifically, the way the greenish stain dried. (It's actually a separation of yellow and black.) The rest of the painting turned into a bit of a, "call and response" situation. I proceeded to use several formal devices that allow the viewer to focus on pivotal passages in the composition.”


Howard Sherman | adding. Courtesy of the artist.


Howard Sherman | adding. Courtesy of the artist.


Howard Sherman | subtracting. Courtesy of the artist.


Howard Sherman | intuitive experiments. Courtesy of the artist.


Howard Sherman | "Edgy community of unconventional types", 70 x 60 inches, acrylic, canvas and marker, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

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Howard Sherman earned his Bachelors in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin and his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas in Denton. He has participated in multiple residencies including: the 2011 Jentel Artist Residency, the Vermont Studio Center Artist Residency, the McColl Center for Visual Art residency, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation residency. Sherman is affiliated with the McMurtrey Gallery, Cris Worley Fine Arts, and Flanders Gallery.

Ellen C. Caldwell is an LA-based art historian, editor, and writer.

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