The Words of Sheila Lichacz

I was born in the town of Monagrillo, Panama, where ceramics were first discovered in the year 3000 B.C. As a young girl, I grew up seeing the shards falling from the banks of the river, and I picked up these ancient artifacts. That is why today I still put together and paint the life back into the vessels that my ancestors have handed over to me.

Art is my life. Every one of my paintings is a moment that I have lived before. So if you ask me how long it takes me to do a painting, I will answer you that it has taken me my whole life.

I like the way I paint. The simple lines in my paintings remind me how blessed I am to be able to say so much with so little. My only concern is with my emotions, and to express them, I use color and form. I am so close to God when I paint. He guides my fingers over every line I draw, and I feel the greatness of being close to Him.

The Spanish called it 'Naturaleza Muerta,' the French called it 'Nature Mort,' and in English, it is called 'Still Life.' This kind of 'Dead Nature' art is not what I do at all. My paintings are alive! There can be no dead nature, because it is so very much alive. The world is that way also. I know that when I paint a vessel, an apple, a watermelon, a leaf ...anything. I never think of the subject as being dead. I always see interaction among the objects. If I have a group of avocados on a table and I am going to do a painting, I do not see them as dead avocados...I see them as very much alive. I believe that I am very blessed to see objects this way.

This feeling I have for painting is stronger than myself. I will paint until I die. In fact, I have prayed to God that when I die, I will be painting. I also pray for a long life...I have so much yet to do.

When I paint, I think only of satisfying the need to paint what I feel. Yet, in every one of my paintings, when it becomes a finished product, there seems to be a message that the viewer receives, even though I have not thought of this message into my paintings.

When I went to art school, I was told never to use pure black. Well, the way I see the holes in my pots is pure black, and this is the way I paint them. I don't feel that one has to understand art. All one has to do is to feel it, and enjoy it.

The more I paint, the less fearful I am of trying new things. It is wonderful to be free...I do and paint as I please. I am able to paint pots and more pots, and always they are different.

One of the first things I discovered when I started painting was that I could make my paintings speak to the viewer. I also discovered that I can paint spiritual beings...these are my vessels. It is not how long it takes me to do a painting, it is how well I do it.

Some people believe in my work, and some don't. The most important thing is that I believe in my work.