BRENTWOOD -- Each year, the Brentwood Art, Wine and Jazz Festival honors a local artist for contributing to the local art community with an Artist of the Year award. This year, the festival committee has chosen watercolor artist Sherry Cummings to receive the award at the Aug. 30 event.
Cummings is a relative newcomer to the Brentwood art scene. After working for more than 35 years in the corporate world and losing her husband, Cummings turned back to her artist roots several years ago.
"I had no idea what I was going to do with my time," she said. "My brother recommended that I get back into art."
While attending college, Cummings had majored in art but ended up working in the corporate world. Before she knew it, art got pushed back until she didn't have time in her busy world. Suddenly, with time on her hands after retirement, she was able to explore her inner artist.
Over the years, I've experimented with different art techniques. I started with photography and then moved to watercolor, and now I'm working a lot with watercolor and pen and ink," she said.
When she started developing more pictures to her collection, Cummings began showing her work and selling at different shows. She's attended the Brentwood Art, Wine and Jazz Festival for the past several years.
In the beginning, she showed her work and tried to sell the larger pieces but found more luck selling cards and lithos.
While exploring her art, she decided to join the local art clubs and organizations. She volunteered time organizing activities and is now the vice president -- soon to be president -- of the Brentwood Art Society.
For several years, she volunteered time with the Discovery Art Association, which later folded.
Last fall, Cummings, and several other local artists, started a new art club for all of East Contra Costa and the Delta region called the Art Guild of the Delta. The organizers of the group hope the guild turns out to be a support group that encourages artists and helps with networking and show opportunities. Cummings is the group's treasurer.
"The new Delta Gallery of Arts (at the Streets of Brentwood) has a room where artists can put their art on display for the Art Guild of the Delta," she said.
The group is also sponsoring its first judged show this month through September at the Delta Gallery of Arts.
As for her art, Cummings said she definitely would keep exploring new techniques.
"It gives me pleasure and makes me happy when I sell something," she said.
Cummings is also teaching a class at the Delta Gallery of the Arts. "I enjoy working with new artists and new entry artists," she said.