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Busy retiree Art Sherwyn to share stories on art, life and the journey

What do an artist, a masseuse and a room full of art lovers have in common? They'll all be at An Evening with Art Sherwyn, being held Thursday at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.

Sherwyn, the aforementioned artist, has a lot to share about his latest work, "Uncommon Perspective: Paintings by Art Sherwyn," currently on display at the museum.

"This show is different than any show that I've ever had by a long run," he said. "It's been about a five-, six-year process. There are a lot of wonderful stories and wonderful perspectives that happened along the way."

One of those stories involves a memorable massage and that masseuse, who Sherwyn promised would be in attendance, but you'll have to go to the talk to find out the details.

He said the few tours he has given of the current exhibition, including with Mayor Karen Goh, City Councilman Andrae Gonzales and The Hub of Bakersfield, have added so much to the work that he wanted to share his process with a wider audience, who can then view his work after the talk. 

When developing this latest collection of paintings, Sherwyn said he needed to figure out two things.

"I needed a challenge and I made it about perspective. I needed the story and I made it about Bakersfield."

The series features many downtown scenes as well as those inspired by drives the artist would take while he was in the initial sketching phase.

"When you're working on a project like this, your mind is always awake. People that pass you and places ... Everything is awakening and your mind is alive."

Scenes depicted include the view looking up at the Padre Hotel from its rooftop bar Prairie Fire, two views of Wall Street Alley, the Kern River and the interesting architecture on F Street.

"They are uncommon art. I don't use the normal colors. I play with perspective. I play with abstract design. The lesson there is about just stepping in and making a move and responding to the move."

He said his "plane" took him on new pathways artistically and he likened the creation process to hiking: "You don't know what you see until you get to that view. Then those views glisten."

"This is an incredible journey, then to end with a show at 70 years old. I always told my students that art is one of the few professions that you get better with age."

With a show coming up this September with his daughter, Liz Sherwyn, in Cambria, he said he is honored to keep creating at a time "when a lot of people are trying to figure out what to do."

Creating a new path with each project remains the pursuit.

"That journey is the most important part for me. If they like it afterwards, that's just gravy for me."

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.