Real World Reference Art: Cheryl Bodnar

Representational art, by the very definition, is a visual reference to something in the real world. Also known as figurative art, Cheryl Bodnar works from photographs, often ones she has taken herself but also finds herself attracted to impressionism. Cheryl is a Vancouver artist, relocating to the West Coast from Saskatchewan during Expo.

Watch our full interview with Cheryl Bodnar

Cheryl started sketching in her youth; however, it wasn’t until she took art lessons as an adult at a community center that it became a major force in her life. As her skill progressed, she found it provided a release from stress in her career as a nurse.

Cheryl finds painting evokes calmness. A lot of thought goes into composing a piece of art. Developing the values of lightness and darkness in a painting was challenging initially; however, she is drawn to light and the different perspectives it brings.

When I asked Cheryl if she has any insight for women contemplating new directions in their life, she shared it is important to take the first step and try something. It might be baby steps to start, but don’t give up. When in doubt, reach out to other people you admire and are open to sharing their approach, which is how she came to understand the values of light.

We had a chance to talk about a fascinating book I was not familiar with, Running With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, that changed the view of herself as a woman. It made her question if she was being her authentic self and helped her find her voice. She shares that women have ferocity and ferociousness that should come out nicely so that you can stand up for yourself.

Cheryl started a people pleaser; however, as she ages, she has come to understand that not everybody will like you in this world, and that is ok. She finds age has given her the wisdom to not care so deeply about what people think, and she is embracing the freedom that brings.

Getting To Know Cheryl

When have you been most satisfied in your life?

Raising our kids with my husband was a precious time in life, and maybe we didn’t always realize it at the time. It was great, even with the challenges that come from being a parent.

The other most satisfying times in my life have been when I have mentored or been teaching. I was always mentoring the younger Nurses to be all they could be. My good fortune was to be a classroom Instructor for Nurses as well.

And, of course, painting and art.

If you could meet anyone for lunch, who would it be?

I would say, my deceased Grandparents. It would be so cool to see them all again and talk over lunch and coffee.

What was the best advice you ever received?

The best advice I received was to be myself, be authentic. Find your voice! Don’t worry about what other people think about you. So basically, don’t be a people pleaser. I spent a lot of time being quiet and shy when I was younger.

Confront your mistakes and once you deal with them, move on! Don’t let shame consume you. Look forward in life, not backward. Take responsibility for your life. Take care of yourself; self-care is huge!

What do you need to make more room in your life for?

Well, right now with Covid – less eating and more exercise.

If you could learn anything new, what would it be?

I want to learn to play the guitar.

What is your key strength?

Perseverance which I think is the positive spin on stubbornness—haha! I am also quite organized. Setting goals is big for me, short and long term.

Learn More

Follow Cheryl on Instagram and Facebook

View her paintings on ROAM Gallery

Read other stories in the Women In Art series:

Katayoon Webb

Iris Mes-Low

Golfo Tsakumis

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Sherry Kallergis
Sherry Kallergis

Sherry loves creating and pulling together things, values her eclectic group of friends living fascinating lives around the globe, is an eloquent listener, can’t write worth a damn, but loves a great story and is a sponge soaking up new tips that will help make her (and your) life extraordinaire!

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A magazine for women 45+ who want to own aging with spirit and joy. For those of us rediscovering who we are & exploring what we want next. And. We. Want. More. Health, wealth, happiness, & fulfillment. Join women around the world as we share knowledge and life experience while navigating the best years yet.