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Our Featured Artist

Sherry Thurston


Sherry Thurston’s enjoyment in all things creative provided a natural attraction to the art medium of watercolor. Some of the excitement of watercolor for her is when the paint and paper start to do some “creating” on their own. This relationship is something that feels exclusive to watercolor and will be found evident in the loose, organic style of her work. She spent 2 years studying with the late Richard DuBois (a Black Hills professional watercolorist and teacher) and is a past president of the Northern Plains Watercolor Society here in the Black Hills where she currently resides when she’s not spending time in Kenmore (she was born and raised in WNY).  

Dennis Linn  contact:dllinn@dennislinn.com

Web Site: dennislinn.com

Watercolor has been one of my favorite mediums for over 50 years, and continues to provide unique opportunities and challenges, as well as an invitation to explore new techniques. It also is extremely accessible, as I maintain a covered palette that is always ready to use, allowing me the ability to paint for any length of time without a lot of prep, clean-up, or wasted paint. I love the way the medium gives you the ability to dissolve or delineate forms, its transparency, and the serendipitous way the wet colors move. Many of my watercolors are like colored drawings, much easier to control the line with fast- drying transparent watercolor than with a heavier medium such as oil. I’ve often heard watercolor is a difficult medium because you only get one chance with a painting, but I’ve never believed that, though you do have to be careful not to overwork it. The watercolor medium process is beautiful, fun, and suggestive of endless possibilities. I also love the way transparent colors seem to glow from the way light shines through from the paper itself.

Melissa Wood


I was born and raised in Rapid City, where I still reside.  I come from a large family with 10 siblings. I am the youngest girl, with four older sisters and six brothers.  My husband Pat and I have four children ranging in age from 31 to 15 years old. We are almost empty nesters with one left at home.

I spent many years doing commercial and residential faux painting and hand texturing.  That business was a great way to express my creative side and has also been a strong influence in the way I paint today frequently loading my paintings with texture.

In 2007, I was at a party visiting with a very talented local artist named Richard DuBois.  He mentioned that he taught watercolor classes to a group and invited me to join. I figured why not!?  I went to the class and slowly learned how to paint with watercolor. I painted with the group for eight wonderful years until Richard passed away.  I didn’t realize what a gift that time in my life was until I didn’t have it anymore. Richard is a constant influence in my paintings as I can still hear his voice guiding me through  the process. I am very thankful for the lifelong friendships I have made within the Dick’s Chick’s group. I continue to take classes from artists I admire because there is always more to learn.

Now that all of my children are older, I have more time than ever before to paint.  I am having so much fun! You will find that my paintings are a reflection of my mood.  Sometimes colorful and bold, and other times dark with rich messy texture. I love to paint large pieces, flooding my paintings with unexpected colors to add and element of abstraction.  When I paint I am not thinking about an end result, instead focusing on the freeing feeling of letting the paint fly. My subject matter varies as I love to paint animals, juicy landscapes and very loose portraits.

I have been participating in the NPWS show since 2011 and am a Signature member.  For more information about my art you can email me at melissawood67@yahoo.com.

Sharon Grey


    I was born and raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota in Spearfish.  That is where I spent long summers doing things that you can do for free or cheaply, like tubing down the glacial creek, walking to the library, reading in my treehouse of three planks of wood nailed in a black walnut tree, or going tent camping.  I sketched constantly, and had dreams of becoming a street artist in Florence.  

    Instead, I attended BHSU and studied painting and drawing with Dick Dubois, transferred briefly to Baylor University, and went back home to finish my art degree.  From there, I taught art to high school boys at the Challenge Academy in Waco, then moved to Rapid City and taught at Girls Inc. until my first daughter was born.  At that point I discovered that I could work from home as a freelance illustrator and have a life where I get to draw and paint all day AND stay in pajamas!  To that end, I have been a freelancer now for twelve years and have illustrated over two dozen books for kids, but my primary love is still painting my own watercolors.  I stay busy as an active member of the Northern Plains Watercolor Society, and have added two more kids to the stack as well.  They enjoy spending long summers in the Black Hills doing things you can do for free or cheaply.  

    I did make it to Florence a few summers back as well, and put my dream of being a street artist to rest once and for all.  I hadn’t envisioned quite so much standing in the hot sun and selling my art cheaply to tourists when I was a child, which just goes to show you, sometimes the life you’re given is infinitely better than the one you plan for yourself.  To see more beautiful artwork by Sharon Grey visit her website at http://www.sharongreywatercolors.com


Susan Drey 


My passion for art began at the early age of five when I took classes at the Des Moines Iowa art center.  Although, when it came to my career, I followed in my Dad’s footsteps, choosing the more practical field of architecture.  After 15 years of practice, I moved on to other art related vocations, including my own wedding photography business, followed by six years as a landscape designer.  Then in 2016, at age 60, I took the leap of faith and decided to pursue my art full time….  with the added income of driving a school bus!  

The subjects of my watercolor paintings include street scenes, native birds and wildlife.  My work has an energetic and expressive style that perfectly reflects my background in architecture, my love of nature, and my great lust for life.

To see more beautiful artwork by Susan Drey go to http://www.susandrey.com

Bill Feterl

Bill is a South Dakota native living near Deadwood, S.D. He has lived in the western part of the state since he was a second grader. It was then that he learned he could draw. While watching a fellow student sketching on paper, Bill was encouraged to do the same, with some success.

Bill began to study art formally while a student at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D. He earned a B.S. in Fine Arts with a Commercial Art minor. He also earned a double major in Communication Arts. Bill is a signature member of Artists of the Black Hills and Northern Plains Watercolor Society.


A representational artist, Bill uses watercolor paints. On occasion he will use oil paints. He spent the first seven years of life on a farm. That may explain his appetite to depict old barns or houses. Also antique vehicles or fence line seem to grab his attention. Those images bring back fond memories of his childhood. Wondering what, when and who occupied these objects helps Bill create his art. Hopefully, art viewers will be moved and ask the same questions. 

Along with painting, Bill enjoys illustrating. While employed with Homestake Mine in Lead, S.D., he drew for the Safety Department, designed coins, belt buckles and manuals. Bill has illustrated several ground control manuals for mining companies. He has created three book cover designs and illustrated a children's book.

Bill has taught a few art classes, preferring to keep the class size small so as to give students ample attention. Lastly, he has been hired to paint several commissions in recent years.

To see more wonderful artwork by Bill visit his web site at www.billfeterlart.com