An Artist Talk, First Friday February 1st, at 6pm is an opportunity to hear Sydney explain her motivation behind the magnificent cloud paintings she is recognized for.
To stand in front of one of Sydney’s paintings, the viewer is connected back to every moment he/she has been awed by the sky above. Her inspiration becomes ours, to contemplate and appreciate anew. Sydney McKenna’s Florida landscape paintings express the state’s atmosphere in a unique and poignant way. Especially sensitive to the subtle color shifts that occur in the vaporous skies of the South, these original oil paintings are created in the classic technique of the Old World; using thin layers of oil paint to build up a subtle luminosity, unifying classical style with contemporary themes.
Sydney explains her fascination this way, “Over the years of painting clouds I have grown to see quite a bit of symbolism in the water cycle. The fact that it can transform itself, rise into the heavens and move around the world through the skies, is somewhat miraculous; as if the clouds are the ‘spirit form’ of water. They have come to remind me of the spark of life; a lifting of the physical, into the spiritual…. I was recently intrigued by an article describing life systems in cloud formations. This thought makes me aware that the world we experience is really a collision of a multitude of worlds.”
Sydney began her painting career in the Sarasota area in the mid- eighties as a mostly self-taught watercolor artist and gained quick success, winning awards and exhibiting in Sarasota Art Galleries. After obtaining a degree in Visual Arts from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and making the switch to oil painting in 1996, she attended a semester of graduate studies in fine art at Cortona, Italy through the University of Georgia. Sydney then returned to the United States, where she relocated to St. Augustine and operated the Sydney McKenna Gallery from 1997 to 2013, and is one of the original founding members of Butterfield Gallery. She sees St. Augustine as the perfect combination of her two favorite locales: European architecture combined with the lush Florida environment.
Sydney McKenna’s paintings are widely held in both corporate and private collections, have been featured on many magazine covers, and have awards and recognitions to numerous to mention. She has grown to become one of St. Augustine’s premier artists.