9:16 AM 15th September 2020
Artistry Of Lancashire – Shiryn Wynter
The work of Shiryn Wynter immediately strikes the viewer with an explosion of colour, vitality, and expression. The paintings are emotive because they are so vibrant, so full of energy that they provide a very welcome and enticing distraction – you want to get up close and see beyond what immediately meets the eye.
Hopes and Dreams
The process to construct the paintings, which are made using spray paint and oils, is one of layering. Shiryn uses the media to create “an ambiguity of form” adding stencilled motifs reminiscent of parks, plants and gardens to create what she describes as her own imaginary worlds, her own “utopias.” The formation of the paintings is time-consuming: Shiryn builds layers of paint, spraying over it and using oil to partially obscure and erase the paint. She makes a “fade” effect using the colour white to create a blend of the visible and partially invisible layers that comprise the imagery. She experiments with mixed media, thinning down oil paints to surprise herself with the colours and textures she can create. Her motivation is to “recreate the depth and vibrancy of nature” and the experimentation renders each finished piece with its own unique surface texture. Each painting is a distinctive exploratory journey – there is no road map – the joy is in the creation, the constant uncertainty around the end result.
Shiryn describes herself as an artist who “is trying to start a conversation about the benefits of art in mental health and education.” She draws on her childhood memories and her love of nature, creating imagined, oneiric worlds – working on a large scale to create an immersive feel when facing her creations.
Her current project is entitled “A window to another world… from the outside looking in…” which is the visualisation of the viewer’s utopian realm: where they would be, could they imagine an ideal setting to inhabit. Her work, embracing her passion for nature and full of bright flowers, sunshine, gardens and meadows provides visual imagery that makes her happy, and thus shows that art can and does have a visual appeal that can bring benefit to a person’s mental health.
And it is the landscape of Lancashire that sustains her creative energy – the views she experiences provides daily motivation to paint whilst the people of Lancashire consistently inspire through their attitude and resilience.
She also tries to incorporate as many natural elements into her work as she can; inspired by the Swiss-Argentinian artist Vivian Suter who lives and works in Panajachel in Guatemala and who leaves her work outdoors to absorb extracts of the natural world, such as volcanic and botanical matter. Shiryn also enjoys the bright colours and abstract forms of the artist Fiona Rae who, like Shiryn, recreates a fictional universe.
Shiryn in her studio
Shiryn lives in Penwortham and is married with four children. Having spent most of her career in education, focused on mental health and behavioural difficulties, she took a brave step to leave full time work to return to university, recently completing a BA Hons in Fine Art. She is now in her second year studying a Master’s in Fine Art at UCLan. Her main fear of returning to university was that fellow students would be much younger than she; particularly given her own son followed her the year after to study the same course. But in fact she found that there were plenty of mature students, some older than herself and she now feels it was one of the best decisions to have made, and would advise anyone who feels it is “too late” to go to university to think again.
Meanwhile, Shiryn still finds time to run a business called “Getmessy” which provides art workshops for children after school and during holidays as well as operating as a freelance Group Leader and Educator based at the Harris Museum and in schools, galleries and libraries across Lancashire. Her layering process for the actual painting needs time to allow each layer to dry, during which time she will dedicate herself to the marketing elements of her profession – which itself is time consuming – uploading to her website and social media and managing her online shops hosted by Redbubble, Society 6 and Etsy. Amongst all this, Shiryn still frequently takes work on commission – so all in all she keeps very busy but adores every aspect of the job.
Shiryn feels that art has become ever more important in everyday existence, particularly in the aftermath of lockdown. Viewers have commented that her work has made a significant impact on their mental wellbeing in times of difficulty and in response to the lockdown, Shiryn began a project in which she asked people to submit their own “lockdown views” be it a photo taken from a window, or a snapshot taken on a daily walk during the permissible exercise hour, or perhaps just a place they particularly missed. She was astonished by the variety of images she received and enjoyed using artistic license to create a portfolio of work that was exhibited online in August. She says that because we all have camera phones these days, there was little point in reproducing an exact replica of every captured scene and so use her skills to change the images, add and remove elements, mix up the colours to provide images that should inspire a sense of positivity and creativity.
The result of this project can be viewed online via Shiryn’s Facebook page and will be exhibited at the Avenham Pavilion, in Preston’s grade II listed Avenham Park before Christmas: dates TBC.
In October she hopes to exhibit her project “A window to another world from the outside, looking in…” in St Georges Shopping Centre, Preston, with another exhibition at Whitby Galleries stocking her original paintings from October (https://whitbygalleries.com/
). Shiryn wants her work to reach a wider audience by choosing venues in which art wouldn’t usually be displayed, making art more accessible to a more diverse public audience. Encouraging engagement with art from those who might not usually take much interest should bring the positive benefit to peoples’ mental health that art can so readily provide.
Details of her forthcoming exhibitions can be found via her Facebook page, as can the Lockdown Views: https://www.facebook.com/shirynwynterart/
Her website is: https://shirynwynterart.com/
and you can follow her on Twitter:@ShirynW
Shiryn’s work can be seen at Scorton Barn (https://www.plantsandgifts.co.uk/
) and at the Kutchenhaus kitchen showroom in Preston (https://www.kutchenhaus.co.uk/showroom/preston
Shiryn’s online shops can be visited here: