PLACIDA — North Port resident Sheryl Unwin captures the life and emotion of her subjects in her portraits, whether it’s wildlife, celebrities or family.
Unwin knew from an early age she was destined to be in the arts.
“I had a couple of art teachers in high school who were always encouraging me to pursue an art career,” Unwin said. “My parents were also supportive in my decision.”
Born and raised in Billerica, Mass., Unwin was inspired by Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as her contemporaries.
“I really admire the work of portrait artist Charleen Crowley,” she said. “I grew up with her. I’ve also made artist friends over the years, growing up and online like Clive Meredith. He specializes in portraits and wildlife.”
Unwin moved to England in 1997, where she met her husband. She moved to North Port in 2006 to be closer to her parents.
“I miss my friends I’ve made in England, particularly the scenery, architecture and the culture,” Unwin said.
She’s captured the likeness of celebrities like Paul McCartney, Mark Harmon and Jim Morrison.
“A client will give me a photo reference,” Unwin said. “I will send proofs while it’s in progress. People are hardest to capture, because you’re making them look like the way they perceive themselves.”
Unwin said she gives 10 percent of profits to charity. When she does wildlife, she’ll either contact the photographer for permission to do a re-creation sketch or she’ll tour area zoos to take the photographs herself to create her own reference shots. She prefers large felines as her wildlife subjects. She frequents the Naples Zoo, Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Jungle Gardens in Sarasota, and the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.
Unwin started participating in the Placida Saturday Arts and Crafts Market in December. She said she originally was skeptical since she didn’t feel like she had enough work to show, but she wanted to get her name out there.
“I think it’s a good venue for artists to share their artwork,” she said. “The fact that it’s free is good. I think the atmosphere is great. A lot of artists can’t afford to do the bigger shows and larger venues. We just can’t afford them.”
For more information about her work, go to sheryl-unwin. artist websites.com , or call 941-662-9065.
The Placida Saturday Arts and Crafts Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and almost every other Saturday through April, on the grounds of the Fishery restaurant, 13000 Fishery Road, Placida. Parking and admission are free, and artists can display their work there for free. For market information, call 941-697-2451.