I can honestly say I’ve never known anyone, artist or otherwise, more popular and respected than Ron Sherr.
His passing prompted an outpouring of heartfelt tributes all across social media, as former students shared the most touching sentiments, each describing a special bond they felt with him.
Which is no surprise. Because he had this way of speaking to you as if you were the only person in the world that mattered.
And during his in-studio painting critiques, you were.
Our class was bursting at the seams–nearly 40 painters, three generations, shoulder to shoulder in an average-size room. Yet somehow he got to each of us, one at a time.
You then had Ron’s full attention.
He was totally present, maintained eye contact, and delivered all the information you needed. He’d then move on to the next student. But the inspiration stayed with you.
There was no need to take notes in class because Ron’s insights were too powerful to forget. They’ve guided me for 35 years, and still come to mind while working in the studio.
–Always try to do the impossible.
–There’s no such thing as too much drawing.
–Look at a masterwork and imagine you’re the one painting it.
–Establish a focal point early on. Then a secondary focal point to compete with the first one.
–Look at your subject as if your life depended on it.
–Only exhibit your very best work.
–Every inch of your painting should be interesting.
–Every struggle you encounter is a painting struggle.
This last point was a life-changer, especially for the younger artists.
Money problems you say?
That’s a painting struggle.
Problems in your relationship?
Painting struggle. And so on.
Also extraordinary was his modesty, unaffected by his talent.
Class was never about him or his work; it was always about his students. He spoke freely of his struggles as a young painter as he encouraged us to fight it out in a big tough city.
Bottom line is, you felt safe in Ron’s presence.
While friends, family, and even strangers warned of the futility of making a career out of art, Ron left you feeling it was the most practical thing to do.
And totally possible if you wanted it enough.
Click any image to open or close slideshow
Ronald Sherr studied at the DuCret School of Art in New Jersey and at the National Academy of Design with Daniel E. Greene, Harvey Dinnerstein, and privately with Burton Silverman.
His portraits of notable Americans include former presidents, Supreme Court justices, senators, and governors as well as leaders in business, medicine, academia, and the arts.
Sherr is one of the few artists to receive the Hubbard Art Award ($250,000.00) from the Hubbard Art Museum in Ruidoso, New Mexico.