In just eight short years, Murray Sease has gone from picking up a paintbrush to showcasing her paintings in two Bluffton galleries and in local art festivals.
The 57-year-old graphic designer did some illustration work for clients of her small business, Shine On Art. It was a natural progression once she realized that she could do more artistic renderings with a paintbrush. She started painting homes for real estate clients, and her passion for painting blossomed from there.
“I really loved it so much. I was hooked,” Sease said. “It’s so exciting for me to do work that people love, not just for the commercial value, which is more what my design work is.”
Now, Sease has her oil paintings hanging in the SOBA Gallery and La Petite Gallerie, a co-op she is a part of with six other local artists.
“It is a tiny gallery, but we have filled it to the brim with really great artwork,” she said of La Petite Gallerie. “I also cannot say enough about SOBA. The friends that I've made there have been so encouraging and helped with my success as a painter.”
She also recently had two paintings published in the cookbook “Pullin’ Pots” and opened her own Etsy store.
Sease moved to Hilton Head Island at the age of 12, when her father retired from the military. She studied art at Appalachian State University and earned a degree in graphic design from SCAD. Then the coast called her back home. She and her husband, Bill, built their Bluffton home in the mid-1980s.
“It’s the community spirit,” she said of Bluffton. “Everyone pulls together and has a good time. There's always something fun going on."
Bluffton inspires much of Sease’s art. The natural settings, the rich culture and the history of the Lowcountry are all themes her paintings. And she loves to paint it all, from the farmers markets to nature, people, birds, wildlife and animals.
"I have a couple of chickens that I use for models,” she said with a laugh.
It is fitting that someone who chose a career in art also chose Bluffton as her home. The eclectic town has always been artsy, but its galleries and art scene are “burgeoning,” Sease said, which in turn is attracting even more talented people and continuing to grow the arts community.
“It’s more popular and busy than ever before,” she said. “There are so many talented people who inspire me, and I learn from them all the time.”