Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my all-time art heroes, Sherrie McGraw, a true Master Artist in a man’s world.

Sherrie McGraw artist interviewed by Lori McNee

I pondered this bold title, but after visiting and corresponding with Sherrie, I knew it was the right choice.

Sherrie McGraw is the perfect blend of grace and grit. A true trailblazing pioneer, Sherrie has been at the forefront of the male dominated American Art scene for over thirty years.

“As you know, making our way in a man’s world is a real thing. I lived a story about that very thing, where, as a junior member of the (club name omitted), my painting of a still life was set aside to be taken out of contention for a prize. The reason? They had seen the same setup done by my David (Leffel). The truth was that he (David Leffel) had painted my setup after I finished painting it because he loved the idea so much. Of course they assumed that I copied his setup. And these types of assumptions have been far too frequent and annoying. ~Sherrie McGraw

During our interview, Sherrie was warm and open. I was so impressed with her brilliant mind, patient demeanor, and her deep abiding passion for art.

It’s no wonder Sherrie McGraw is one of the foremost fine artists and instructors in the world today.

At the young age of 4 years old,  Sherrie knew she wanted a different life from the other little girls in Oklahoma. She wanted to be an artist!

Sherrie set off on an artistic pursuit which eventually led her to the Art Students League of New York in 1978. She primarily studied with legendary artist, David Leffel, but also learned anatomy through Robert Beverly Hale and Jon Zahourek at the New York Academy.

By the time she was 30, Sherrie was teaching at the Art Students League. Her work has received numerous awards and has shown in major art institutions and museums, including the Butler Institute of American Art, where she had a solo show in 2014.

Sherrie lectures and demonstrates for art institutions such as the Portrait Society of America, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Brigham Young University, the Art Students League of New York, the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia.

Today, Sherrie and her lifelong partner, David Leffel, are continuing their tradition and love of teaching through their website, Bright Fine Light Art  – Bringing Inspiration and Technique to Every Artist in the World, turning art students into professionals for over 40 years.

She and I had a thought provoking conversation about art, art business, life, and what it’s like being a successful female artist. Thus the provocative title, Master Artist in a Man’s World.  Sherrie shared a lot of valuable insights for artists of all levels. 

Since the interview, Sherrie and I have continued to correspond and have become modern day pen-pals of sorts. I look forward to meeting her in person one day, and interviewing her for Part 2 to continue the conversation. I believe you will enjoy this interview with Sherrie McGraw as much as I did.