Sunday, February 6, 2005

Plainfield woman learns art around the world

Joliet Herald News
Herald News, The (Joliet, IL)
February 6, 2005
Plainfield woman learns art around the world
Author: Denise M. Baran-Unland
Section: local
Page: f1
Index Terms:
Estimated printed pages: 4
Article Text:
For the past 35 years, Shuck and her family have lived in five states and once abroad, moves that have developed her as an artist. They allowed Shuck to take classes at a variety of places and learn a variety of mediums, visit world famous museums in Europe, belong to seven art leagues and participate in numerous art shows. Shuck also has won awards in watercolor, oil and pencil drawing. All of her travels notwithstanding, it is familiar scenes that inspire most of her work. "It is what I know and love," said Shuck. "I want to paint scenes that I feel connected to, and then incorporate that feeling into my art. I would describe my paintings as being impressionistic in nature that is, not defining every last detail. "People have told me that I paint from my heart rather than interpret everything I see. I leave room for the viewer's imagination and interpretation."
Within the stone building in her recent oil painting, "Sanctuary," sits an old water fountain that bubbles up when one presses down on the pedal. It's a place where Shuck and her friends spent many days after long bike rides or walks through Hanover College in Indiana.

"One of my childhood friends recently said that his grandfather would line up the kids, step on the pedal and ask them what flavor they wanted," said Shuck. "If they said, `strawberry,' he said, `Strawberry, it is.' "It was magical. Each child left the fountain gratified that they had received something special. When people see this painting, their special memories come flooding back." Last summer, Shuck was thrilled to work under the direction of Renaissance master painter Patrick Betaudier of France through the Friends of Community Public Art in Joliet. She said Betaudier influenced the bold colors in "Sanctuary," but it was her own artist's eye that was drawn to the continuing shadow patterns and strong sunlight. Shuck is working on a commissioned piece for her son-in-law, an oil scene of his favorite fishing dock in Canada.

Growing up in Hanover, Ind., Shuck's earliest art experiences came from her father, who entertained her in church with his drawings and peppered his conversations with words that made mental images jump to life. "He described things with imagery, so our young minds could grasp, in picture form, the beauty of simple things," said Shuck. "He stimulated our minds to think creatively, so I attribute that and my art abilities to him." Parents and peers alike encouraged the young Shuck to develop her own artistic abilities, and she soon became known as "the artist" among them. "My friends thought I could do everything because I exhibited some talent," said Shuck. "Artists will know what I mean by that." Shuck chose to attend Northwood Institute in West Baden, Ind., (now relocated to Midland, Mich.) because it was close to home. At the time, Shuck decided to use her art in the advertising world instead of attending a fine art school, a decision she later regretted.

During the summer months, Shuck worked in advertising sales and art design at the Madison Courier in Madison, Ind. This experience marked the beginning of her interest in graphic design. Later, Shuck happily worked for a graphic artist, a menu design company.

"It was thrilling to see my art and designs roll off the press," said Shuck. When Shuck moved to Wabash, Ind., she attended her first watercolor class, invited by the friend who taught it. However, Shuck was certain she would not enjoy it because other artists had told her the medium was a difficult one. "I heard other artists describing how difficult the water was to control, but I enjoyed the unpredictability and freshness of it. Plus, I could clean my brushes with water instead of solvent," said Shuck.

She continued to take a variety of classes, join a variety of art leagues and dabble in various expressions of art wherever she lived. A life-long dream arrived when Shuck finally could enroll in classes at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. She was then upset to learn the next move was to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, Europe. "I drug my feet all the way to Luxembourg since it meant leaving art school behind," said Shuck. "When I simmered down long enough to think about it, it meant I could see world famous art just hours from my doorstep. So what was the problem?" European art trips included museums and churches in England, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy. Art lessons included an oil painting class (in English) with Gustave Alhadeff in his Brussels studio. By far, Shuck's favorite trips were to the Paris museum, l'Orange (with its two oval rooms on the basement level that hosted a continuous, ceiling-to-floor circular Waterlily painting by Monet), and to Monet's home in the small village of Giverny, France, a few miles from the Seine River.

"His famous apple green, Japanese bridge was covered with drooping lavender wisteria," said Shuck. "All day, we seemed to stroll in and out of one of Monet's painting or landscapes. It was a surreal experience." In 2000, Shuck moved to Plainfield and returned to the College of DuPage to learn Web
design. She is the Plainfield Art League's gallery manager, newsletter editor and Webmaster and is thrilled about the league's new home at 519 W. Lockport Street, Plainfield. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sandy Shuck:
Goal in creating art: "I have learned to use technology to simplify the art process. It is my goal to achieve what I want to say faster using modern technology." How far has one of your pieces traveled? "I have two commissioned works in England." Words of Wisdom: "I would advise young artists to remain faithful to their art. No matter what their circumstances, learn to incorporate your art into everything you do. The world needs art."

For more information on the Plainfield Art League: The league meets from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month in Plainfield. For more information, visit or email,

Sandy Shuck of Plainfield is an artist who has won awards in watercolor, oil and pencil drawing. Artwork by Sandy Shuck
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Record Number: PFS1471478