About the Artist

Cheryl LeClair-Sommer’s Project Space Exhibition, Scents to Scenes, showcases landscape paintings created exclusively for this show. A plein air artist Cheryl pairs visual and olfactory stimuli to whisk us off to those romantic little hideaways of Minnesota. By pairing essential oils with her expertly painted landscapes, Cheryl hopes to deeply immerse the viewer into the scene and encompass the entirety of the artist’s experience.

With the resources provided by a Kolman & Reeb Gallery Project Space Grant, Cheryl used fragrance as a catalyst to search for locations that embodied the properties of those scents. This allowed for the characteristics of each perfume to inspire the mood and help predict the color palette of the work. Scents to Scenes features paintings paired with the corresponding scent, in hopes that the viewer will deeply connect to the location and atmosphere depicted. Gallery patrons have the opportunity to sample the scents associated with each painting to fully appreciate the experience.

As an example of her concept for the show, in her painting, A Promise of Renewal, Cheryl set out to visually capture a scene encompassing fragrance notes of both intensely warm and deeply cool. To accomplish this, in early spring, she searched for a place where the winter snow was stubborn to melt. In her skilled and masterful technique, Cheryl captured a warm breeze as it swept down the hillside. The intense sun caressed the remnants of winter, snowmelt trickling from beneath; from this came the rich odors of mossy decay as it blended with the light grassy aroma of new life.

Cheryl lives and works in a suburb of St. Paul. To create her plein air paintings she travels throughout Minnesota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the Tahoe, California area. Cheryl has been recognized for her paintings with artwork regularly juried into national exhibits, awards at outdoor painting competitions, a Master Circle award from the International Association of Pastel Societies, an award of a two-week residency, and a feature on the television show MN Original in 2011.