Kathleen Sheridan

My studio is divided up into 3 separate spaces: painting, graphic work and computer/office work. Each area is distinct with its own function and materials. I designed my desk and shelves and my husband built them for me. He also built my easel and tamboret. Use my computer often with my artwork and it is an art tool as much as my brushes or paints. When I made the illustrations for my children’s book “Jaime the Elf”, I scanned the black and white drawings into the computer and colored them using Photoshop. I then printed them on good quality drawing paper and finally finished them by hand with colored pencils.

My paints

I use a limited palette of colors – a result of not having much money when I began painting. I use titanium white, burnt umber, and a warm and cool version each of yellow, red and blue. Sometimes I add burnt sienna or ocher for convenience, but generally I can achieve any color I want with this color palette. I mix linseed oil and turpentine for a medium or for glazing and cover my paints with cellophane wrap between sessions. I have a lifetime supply of recycled Snapple bottle caps that I use to mix the medium. I also use a paper painting palette pad. I know it’s more romantic using an encrusted wooden palette, but I hate getting little bits of dried up paint mixed in my work. I work very thinly, applying fine layers of paint and allowing them to dry before I add the glazes.

My pencils

Painting can be stressful and agonizingly intense, so for relaxation and fun I turn to colored pencils. I like Prismacolor pencils because they are soft and you can mix them like paint. I use the pencils when I did an entire illustrated alphabet in French, making each letter into a postcard-sized composition. Above my drafting table is a small shelf with 4 cubbies. The shelf holds my pencils and drawing materials, glitter, jars of sequins and beads, rulers and compasses. In the cubbies are jewelry making supplies, colored markers, calligraphy pens, erasers and, for some reason, 3 alabaster eggs.

My brushes

Like my painting colors, I use a limited set of brushes and tend to favor soft sable brushes. I use sign-painter’s liner brushes for fine work and puffy watercolor rounds for blending. I have one palette knife that I have had for years and would probably have a stroke if I lost it.