It’s intriguing to meet a person who’s pursuing their true passion in life.
There’s no denying, you have to be incredibly brave to follow your heart, listen to your inner voice and express your emotions openly for all to see.
Cheryl Hart is one of those inspiring people who is following her true path – to become an accomplished artist. It’s hard to believe that in her former life, she was an accountant. While I don’t doubt her intellect for a moment, she seems to be the polar opposite of the typical image of an accountant. Cheryl is softly spoken with a bright smile, she emanates a sense of calm, is self-assured and has a steely determination. She also embraces her creativity with gusto!
Growing up as one of six children in country Victoria, Cheryl watched intently as her mother engaged in creative outlets such as sewing and knitting, and she encouraged the children to participate. This provided a hands-on creative experience from an early age.
During her late teens, Cheryl felt that creative flow being suppressed when art classes weren’t compulsory in high school. She felt that she never shone as an artistic student in art class and wasn’t the focus of the teachers time, as is the case for many students. The focus was given to those perceived to have talent by the teacher, so she gravitated to her better subjects, which were maths based, and at this time, she adopted the belief that she wasn’t artistic. She says she couldn’t free hand draw or sketch and felt that business was her path.
So, in her mid-20’s, feeling the urge to paint was really strange. Cheryl says she just knew it was time to start painting. By then, she had since married and was living in Switzerland with a toddler and a baby to care for. So, as taking lessons was impossible, she started with Paint by Numbers. This allowed her to become familiar with holding a brush, mixing colours and the work required to complete a painting.
After returning to Australia a few years later, Cheryl participated in a small art group at a coffee shop, which was run by a local artist. It was a very casual class with no formal structure – you just painted whatever you felt the urge to paint. In hindsight, she says this was a great way to start. Over the following years, she learned various methods from six different teachers, which helped her technique evolve and assisted in finding her niche. Eventually she became confident enough to start selling her work.
It was at this time, while painting an image of Buddha, Cheryl found herself being guided in her work, as though someone was directing the brush. While this was initially strange, however, she’s since learned to tap into this guidance and use her intuition when creating a work of art.
“My art is like a visual diary, it is a way for me to disconnect from the outside world and travel within, it gives me a chance to pause and remember who I have the potential to be, creating something from a once blank canvas lifts my heart and makes my spirit soar,” she said.
At the age of 33, Cheryl experienced a serious illness, enduring months of tests before being diagnosed with several pre-cancerous tumours in her uterus. Three surgeries followed, including a hysterectomy. Six months later she relocated to Dubai with her family, where she again experience ill health and spent 3 months in bed. This was a turning point in Cheryl’s life as an artist, as she used art as part of the healing process from this traumatic period. She started to paint angels and other visionary works which depicted her personal journey. She says she felt completely at ease expressing her feelings and emotions through her art. Cheryl highly recommends the therapeutic benefits of art, especially to help in dissipating the fear which lingers in the unknown.
Cheryl is fascinated with the connection between animals and humans, which is reflected in her artwork. She’s also intrigued by feathers, with her images including owls, peacocks and angels.
Oil on canvas is her favourite medium, however she recently enrolled in a life drawing class using pencil and graphite.
Art is definitely Cheryl’s passion. She says it was a process to realise this, not an A-ha moment. Several life lessons directed her toward this passion, including major illness and emotional upheaval. Two years ago, she says she found great solace in her painting during her divorce.
Cheryl says she can get lost for hours in painting – time just disappears. Everything is as it should be, and she finds that heart-warming sense of wellbeing, when she paints.
For many years, she’s painted part-time, often late at night when the house is quiet. Now that her children have become more independent, she can make art her priority. It’s been a long road through her commitment to her family – and now she is able to put herself first.
Cheryl has recently undertaken the NEIS program for small business owners. The course has proven to be a great tool to help develop her art into a business, as it provides structure and enables her to learn essential business skills. The program has helped her in making the full transition from finance to art.
In addition to selling her artworks, Cheryl plans to produce a line of quality prints. She also has several other exciting elements in the pipeline.
When Cheryl was asked what advice she would have for anyone who wants to pursue their passion. She said, “Take it one step at a time. Find yourself a group that’s supportive, explore your passion, feed that creativity, set time aside and prioritise it. It doesn’t have to happen overnight – it’s a process which will evolve naturally, organically”.
Cheryl says that her confidence grew as she shared her passion with others, and sought out guidance from a mentor who supported her vision.
Her latest project is a collection of paintings which she’s titled “Divine by Design”. In collaboration with several other artists, Cheryl’s collection will feature in an upcoming exhibition called “Art, An Affair To Remember”, which will be held in Tweed Heads from 12-15 November.
Cheryl has kindly extended an invitation to all Seize the Day Project readers to attend the Opening Night on Thursday 12th November from 7pm NSW time. While there is no cost involved, an RSVP is required – please refer to the exhibition’s information page for further details. I hope to see you there!
Seize the Day Project is all about tapping into your creativity, pushing yourself a little more to do what you love and embracing your gifts. Cheryl is a prime example of our philosophy in action.
So, is there something you’ve always wanted to do or be? What could you do that would change your life for the better right now? Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below – don’t be shy, I love hearing from you 🙂