Portraits of Billy and Friends

CUSTOM DESIGN PORTRAITS: Working from a print of another painting my client Billy wanted to capture the settings of another painting/print he previously owned. He requested that I replace the images of both the male and female with his portrait and that of his friend. Which I’ve done in the painting below. However, with this custom design portrait his unique requests did not end there.

Portrait of Billy and Friend

Shernett Art – Portrait of Billy and Friend

The process that went into the transformation and development of this artwork: Billy requested that the race of the woman/skin tone be changed from a black female to a white female. In addition, he requested that the picture of his friend’s head/facial features be put on the woman’s body who is in his original print. Who by the way, was sitting in a laid back position, while the photo I’m working from below is of a woman standing upright.

W.I.P. Portrait of Billy and Friend

Original photo of Billy’s friend used in the above painting.

I highlight these points for clients who have a friend, family member, loved one, pet, or a special event they may wish to make changes to or simply memorialized in a work of art as it is. I will do that with style and in great quality. A client may want people from different photos brought together in a painting with a totally different background scenery or setting. I can do that for anyone with a fairly descent quality photo. If you don’t have a photo I will do a photo shoot based on client’s request.

Original photo of Billy used in the above painting.

Upon replacing the male’s features with Billy’s facial features, I also, had to position Billy’s larger built body frame behind the woman. Quite a challenging and interesting task, but it turned out pretty nice I think. In the photo below I used Photoshop to reverse the head position of the female. I also used it, to cut and pasted the head onto the body position of the female as in the original print. This is so that both her body and face correlated and look as realistic as possible.

 Shernett Art - W.I.P. Portrait of Billy and Friend

Original Photo and Painting In Progress – Portrait of Billy and Friend

The dimensions of the painting on canvas is 24 by 36. The medium being acrylic paints from Heavy and Soft Body Liquitex, and System 3 etc.

W.I.P. Portrait of Billy and Friend

Blending, mixing and exploring colors for woman’s skin tone.

The paint colors for her skin tone was light portrait pink, flesh tone, apricot (peach), unbleached titanium, parchment, titanium white with other color mixtures like a touch of blue-gray, even a touch of very light lavender mixed with the blue-gray. However, had to be really careful with the mixture and application of these colors in her complexion, otherwise she could appear battered and bruised instead of blushingly pink and rosey.

W.I.P. Portrait of Billy and Friend

Shernett Art Work In Progress – Portrait of Billy and Friend

I’ve used the art grid to establish correct layout of concept and proportions.

W.I.P. Portrait of Billy and Friend

Shernett Art – Preliminary sketch laid out on canvas for portrait painting of Billy and friend.

Custom Design Portrait. Again Billy desired to keep the setting and backdrop of a print from a painting he previously purchased. Working from the print Billy requested his image replace the image of the man in the previous painting/print and the female’s race or complexion be changed from a black female to Caucasian. Below is the step-by-step process and development of the completed art work I did for him.

Portrait of Billy

Artwork Painted by Shernett Muhammad

Shernett Art

Painting displayed in Billy’s home.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy.

Shernett Art: Work In Progress

W.I.P. Work In Progress: Portrait of Billy and Friend.


Portrait of Billy and Friend painted by Shernett Muhammad

Portrait of Billy and Friend painted by Shernett Muhammad

Art by Shernett

Original Photo of Billy and Friend


Portrait of Billy and Friend painted by Shernett Muhammad

Portrait of Billy and Friend painted by Shernett Muhammad

Portrait of Billy and Friend painted by Shernett Muhammad

Portrait of Billy and Friend painted by Shernett Muhammad



Do they not see the birds above them spreading
and contracting (their wings)? Naught upholds
them save the Beneficent (God). Surely He is Seer of all things.

Holy Qur’an, chapter 67, verse 19

Rainwater Cycles of Life

“Life is a moving canvas, a living work of art and we’re masterpieces of the Creator on display in Life’s Gallery living the art!” By Shernett Muhammad

Against the grassy field droplets of rainwater amasses developing into a pond-like oasis in a roadside ditch. As rainwater settles against the earth life emerges, drawing sustenance from the natural flow of energy, it flourishes. My soul consumed with pure delight to see the wings of birds outstretched in flight and the Muscovy’s graceful glide upon the silky emerald rainwater; glistening like jewels of greenish-blue hues. A moment filled with such surprise as cycles of life emerge along the water’s edge of a Florida roadside paradise.

Rainwater Cycles of Life

Under the theme, “The Water’s Edge: Florida Inside-Out” I’ve produced the painting, “Rainwater-Cycles of Life.”

Ever in passing something so momentary and unassuming captivates your attention? Well this is how “Rainwater-Cycles of Life” began. Driving along with my friend on University Drive in Plantation-Florida nothing exciting to see when suddenly a slight glance to my right and I saw green. It was intensely bright! In the midst was a mother duck and her babies swimming through a makeshift rainwater pond in a roadside ditch. Well to some, no big deal, but to my creative senses it was a moment of pure artistic appeal.

Shernett Muhammad Work In Progress

Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad – Work In Progress (WIP)

For days, weeks after I had this experience I could not get it out of my mind. Mainly, because I didn’t have my camera and I needed to hold on to what I could remember. In truth, it came up so suddenly as we drove by that I may not have had time to snap a picture anyway.

Nonetheless, my memory would suffice to a point but I would have to go out looking for that scene again snapping photos and putting it together like a jigsaw puzzle. So I photographed rainwater puddles in driveways, grassy ditches, etc. wherever I could find a similar image. Here’s one of my photos of a grassy area ditch at the Westfield Mall in Plantation, Florida.

Grassy Area Ditch in Plantation at Westfield Mall

Grassy Area Ditch in Plantation at Westfield Mall

Next, I began searching for images with color and light reflecting on water picking up the greenish bluish hues; the closest I came was the water  below. Now the grassy area is my photo as shown above, but the water I can’t take credit for.

Grassy Area Sample WM1Using Photoshop I merged, colored and manipulated the two images to recreate something that I could work with. It was an almost never ending process, in particular, when developing the water.

Shernett Art Rainwater Cycles of Life (Work in Progress)

(WIP) Initial layers of base coats.

I began building up the base color by applying several coats of green acrylic paints. The green base coat separated the white primed surface from the developing artwork. This allowed me to have a more pliable surface to begin shaping and developing the appearance of grass and water.

Shernett Art of Creation Work In Progress (WIP)

I began developing the grassy landscape not with one blade of grass at a time but with daubs of paint and free flowing directional brushstrokes. To create shadow and shape distinction I applied several coats of light green permanent (acrylic paint), chromium oxide green, olive green, mixed with small amount of black paint and daubed the various hues of green on top of my base coat.

Now that the landscape is established and depth is achieved with daubs of darker hues I freed up my brushstroke patterns. They became a bit more lengthy and somewhat wild, yet deliberate, controlled and defined to give form to the blades of grass.
It was a rainy day in spring; raining pretty heavy but at the time I arrived in the area there was only a light drizzle. Still, the amount of water accumulated in the makeshift rainwater pond was evidence of heavy rainfall. The Muscovy didn’t seem to have a care in the world as they swam in the rainwater.  At a quick glance, it appeared as a little pond in paradise set against a beautifully manicured landscape.
Shernett Art Work In Progress on painting The preliminary sketch is a guide; like a coloring book you avoid going outside the lines which are visible here. At times that requires a little disciple and patience. “Patience” is always needed when developing such detailed realism in a work of art. Can you imagine the level of patience, skill, and disciple of “The Creator” as He imagined, designed, created and perfected lifeforms.

Rainwater Cycles of Life by Shernett Muhammad

(W.I.P.) Focused on capturing the iridescent bluish-purple hues with subtle hints of greenish hues reflecting in the mother’s black feathers.

The rule changes at a certain point and in order to create a more realistic image it requires crossing those lines to merge and blend colors.

But, I digress for a moment! I want to explore what art is, and how its viewed. I’ve been trying to understand what art means to people and why it means so much to the civilized world. But for now I’ll talk about what it means to me.

The progression of mother Muscovy and babies.

Ducklings are covered in soft layers of fine feathers called a “down.” The soft loose spread of the down doesn’t appear to have a visible iridescent coloring.

HeART & SOUL: “The Art of Nature and the Nature of Art!” I believe as it is said “Art is everything!” It is nature, it is humanity, it is life; it’s about living things and that which living things do. It’s also about the nature, function and behavior of the subject as much as it is about its artistry and design. It’s the “created thing.” It’s about the creative process (that goes into the development and existence of everything). It’s the creative mind at work; the art of thinking, creating and bringing things into existence.

Rainwater - Cycles of Life

This specie is the Muscovy. I recently learned that ducks have been domesticated over 500 years and that all domestic ducks are descended from either the mallard or the “Muscovy” duck.

HeART & SOUL: “The Nature of Art” is about the exploration and discovery of created things in as much as it’s about self-discovery through creating. Art is a creative expression and study into the design aesthetics, interaction and influence of a subject with its environment but also with the inner person, its creator.

The Mayans say “Time is Art!” That implies the expending of energy (work) within a given day. That energy or work is the use of talent, skills and resource to materialize and bring into existence ideas. Art is creating reality; it is reality if you understand! Every creative thing one engages in happens within the realm of “Time” everything we do is locked into the dictates of “Time” and that (doing) is “creating” and that “creating” or created thing is “ART” the Actualization and Realization of Talent.” A.R.T. “Actualization Realization of Talent” is an acronym I created to sum up the meaning of art as I see it.

After the Rain Muscovy-Ibis (11)
HeArt & SOUL: Art imitates reality! Art documents reality! Reality is Art! Torian Tobechi Ugworji a beautiful mind and person at a recent Art Expo at the Broward Convention Center said to me, “Art is history and reality.” This struck a chord with me, because he understood that viewing, relating to and conveying the essence, subject, and meaning of a work of art was far more than saying that’s a pretty painting. He spoke of what he saw, the substance, the history, how things are positioned and what they conveyed to him. He knew to look deeper into (the who, what, why, when and where); which is not just for books but for the visual story on a canvas as well.

Initially I had the drake…the male Muscovy duck standing in the grass along the water’s edge not immersed in water, but I eventually brought the water up around his legs. Then I changed the head-feathers to black to make him more distinguished. He’s gorgeous! His wings reflects more color with sunlight passing through and rain splashing against them as they rapidly fluttered back and forth. He has so much personality. He seems as if he’s beckoning the team of ducks approaching.  Now take a look at the rain, hey I’ve stopped time and motion when I inserted the falling rain, lol! I’m loving it!


Theme, “The Water Edge: Florida Inside-Out” Title “Rainwater, Cycles of Life.”

A lot of my paintings start out with the actual photo, but beyond the photos my imagination plays a major role in enhancing, shaping and directing the concept, flow and energy of the painting. Here’s an example! I kept visualizing the White Ibis in the setting though they were not in my initial concepts. Hesitantly and cautiously I tested the idea and made them a part of the scheme. Like the Muscovy, the Ibises’ are an everyday occurrence on our front lawns, at the park, or along the highways and byways, nothing exotic. Like an old relationship that has lost its zest complacency sets in and affection for the simple everyday beauties fade. So slow down and take a look then carry on.

IMG_7894 copy

HeART & SOUL: There’s no challenge in coming up with things to paint; just look around there’s inspiration in every element of life. For the most part I’ll only paint those things that holds my attention and preoccupies my mind long after I’ve left the scene. These are things that hold me not just visually, but emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, especially when it’s congruent with my theme.


(W.I.P.) There’s white priming paint on the wood base of my work surface. Still I applied white titanium acrylic paint as the primary color of this image, but as another base color that will make shading, coloring and shaping of the Ibis more pliable.

HeART & SOUL: There’s an unexplained feeling, a surge of energy that fills me when I’m artistically intrigued by someone or something. I put these feelings into every brushstroke and into every mixture and application of color and paint. So that when a person is standing before one of my paintings they too will have a sense of the creative energy and force that connected with me when I first came upon that scene, person or concept.

Shernett Art:

“Rainwater-Cycles of Life” Here’s the completed detailed version of the above image.

HeART & SOUL: I love naturalness of life, the dependability I find when I walk out my front door or peek through a window and there it is, Life happening! I love to see the natural happenings of everyday life in both humanity and nature. They add to the landscape and ambiance and to the beauty and function of my everyday life in the Art of Creation.

Working with the theme,

Shernett on the canvas

HeART & SOUL: Each work of art is a place I go mentally, psychologically, spiritually and in many instances physically. It’s a brief reprieve from the harsh realities of life; human suffering, injustice, and pain. As I’m working on this painting “Rainwater: Cycles of Life” there is “An Intensifying Universal Cry For Justice” resounding around the earth.

American White Ibis

American White Ibis in the front yard

Sometimes the continuous noise and cry becomes too much. Nevertheless, nature redirects my attention to remind me of the natural order and harmony God established in the universe. The disruption of that order, the disharmony and chaos, the cries against injustice in the earth is mankind’s doing.  The Creator and Fashioner of All things did not created a world of chaos and disharmony. He created a world of harmonic contrasts. He says in the Holy Qur’an 49:13:

“O mankind!
We created you from a single (pair)

of a male and a female,
and made you into nations and tribes,

that you may know each other
(not that you may despise (each other).

Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah
is (he who is) the most righteous of you.
And Allah has full knowledge
and is well acquainted (with all things).

IMG_9046 WMThere are lessons in nature. The study of nature through art brings me to a study of myself and the world around me. What have I inherited of knowledge as a result of this work of art. “I am what I am, a child, a descendant of God. I am who I am, that which God has created me to be. I am in the nature in which He has Fashioned me. I am endowed with His attributes and talents which He has deposited in me from Himself. I am purposed by Him to discover, uncover, develop, share and serve in the onward progression of the humanity. These are the feathers of my wings. I am able to soar to great heights when I’m whole and connected to a body of like minds. Like these birds we’re communities of diverse nations, cultures and races, but we are the human family.

Floating feather symbol of flight and freedom.

Together we all soar to greater and greater heights, individually, we lay against the earth blowing aimlessly without function, purpose or usefulness. How much greater and advance would human civilization be globally if we functioned cohesively for the betterment and advancement of the “Human Family” rather than for our individuality. Sure each nation must work for its self-interest and for its own kind, but work in truth with righteousness. Work in a collective manner that takes humanity soaring into an era of human advancement, healing and unlimited progress for all.

 “And there is no animal in the earth,
nor a bird that flies on its two wings,
but (they are) communities like yourselves.”
Holy Qur’an – Chapter 6 verse 38

Rainwater Cycles of Life

Every time we see the Genius, Artistry, and Beauty of the Art of Creation be reminded of Allah (God) the Originator, Fashioner, Creator, The Artist of it all!

“Seest thou not that Allah is He,
Whom do glorify all those who are
in the heavens and the earth,
and the birds with wings outspread?
Each one knows its prayer and its glorification.
And Allah is Knower of what they do.”

Holy Qur’an, chapter 24, verse 41.

Theme “The Water’s Edge: Florida Inside-Out.” 


 Title and Theme

Life is a moving canvas, a living work of art and we’re masterpieces of the Creator on display in Life’s Gallery; Living the Art!

The fundamental (theme) of my overall works of art is “Capturing the Essence of You in the Art of Creation.” This theme summarizes my admiration of the artistry and genius of God revealed in nature and humanity.  “Themes” are an important part of my work. They give depth, focus and direction to my art and to me as well. The theme is as the title of a book with chapters; with each chapter a new aspect of the story develops. Creating and revealing something more of intrigue, curiosity and anticipation based on the theme.

Shernett Art of Creation

Title: “Egyptian Geese: The Water Edge”

My Current Theme: “The Water’s Edge: Florida Inside Out” Captures nature and humanity’s interaction with Florida’s landscape and waterways. This series of paintings aim at capturing various features of this beautiful state I call home; its climate, landscape, beaches, lakes, canals, ponds, swampland and even a puddle of water after the rainfall.

Shernett Art of Creation

Shernett Muhammad, Acrylics on Wood, 48 x 48

Water is captivating! It’s not about diving in, it’s more about its characteristics, allure and transcending ability to bring such calm to the mind and soul. It commands my attention. For brief moments I get lost in it’s stillness, in it’s smooth rippling motion, in the thrust and roll of waves dashing against rocks and shorelines; in the light of the sun and moon glistening upon the liquid silk and lastly, humanity and the natural world’s overall interaction with it.

Title of Painting: Egyptian Geese-The Water's Edge"

Title of Painting: Egyptian Geese-The Water’s Edge”

Life never fails to yield something of artistic intrigue. One day while visiting Central Park in Plantation, that’s Broward County, Florida I saw what I described as exotic ducks. Instead, a little research found these exotic ducks were actually Egyptian Geese. Nevertheless, I was at the park for a light workout, but when I saw this unfamiliar species I quickly grabbed my camera from my car and took plenty of photos. The painting seen here entitled, “Egyptian Geese: The Water’s Edge” is the result of that gorgeous day in sunny South Florida. This is how I collect my images and I do get some incredible photos during my day to day travels. I tend take lots of photos of any particular subject of interest and oft-times combine several of these photos to create the concept or painting I have in mind.

Painting “Egyptian Geese: The Water’s Edge”

Details and accuracy are my passion. There are times I’ll take a photograph and the resolution is weak. If its just difficult to see an area in my photo I’ll do a search for images that are closest to my photos, but better in resolution. This allows me to capture those realistic details I’m after. I don’t copy the photo, I pull from it the high definitions and details that are out of focus in my photo.

The Water's Edge Painting Grass Leaf and Twig

Painting “Egyptian Geese: The Water’s Edge”

Special Feature: I’ve mounted a frame on the back of this 48 x 48 wood panel. Its not immediately visible when the painting is mounted on the wall, but it gives the appearance that its hovering about 1.5″ from the wall.

Work In Progress-the reverse side of my work surface and wood panel

The reverse side of my work surface and wood panel

I added the effect and use of acrylics on (wood) for two simple reasons. One, to explore something new and different from the typical standard stretched canvas or gallery wrap canvas flushed against a wall. And two, wood is as close to nature, as the subjects being painted onto its surface, and that simply appealed to me.

Primed Wood Panel ready for application of acrylic paints.

Primed Wood Panel ready for application of acrylic paints.

I don’t like taking unnecessary chances with my artwork, so, I prime the wood surface before laying out the grid, preliminary sketch, or colors. Priming ensures cohesiveness, durability and vibrancy in my application of the acrylic paints on the wood surface and the quality of the finished art.

Shernett Work In Progress Preliminary Sketch Layout on Wood Panel with Art Grid

Shernett Work In Progress Preliminary Sketch Layout on Wood Panel with Art Grid

Its always best to begin your painting, drawing, sculpture, or any form of creative work with preliminary sketches, photos, maybe even a written statement of the overall concept you desire to create. Even though I have my photos and sketches on paper, I still sketch the entire concept from my photos (or sketches) onto the wood panel using the art grid. This eliminates the wasting of time and materials. Without the art grid your accuracy in applying the images to your work surface could be off, which means sizing and proportions are off.

Work In Progress: Egyptian Geese - The Water's Edge"

Work In Progress: Egyptian Geese – The Water’s Edge”

After you’ve dove in and began drawing or painting without the grid you find that the image is too large, too small or too far in one direction or the other. Now what?  Now you continue with what you have already done or do over! These are your options. Frustrating…I know and I don’t like the feeling. The grid is placed on both the photo or preliminary sketch and on the canvas; in my case the wood panel.

Work In Progress: Theme Painting The Water's Edge - Florida Inside-out"

Work In Progress: Theme Painting The Water’s Edge – Florida Inside-out”

Art and Soul

A painting is not just a pretty picture, but a glimpse into the soul. The painting reveals a state of mind, of being, of existence. It’s an extension of who we are as artists. It reveals by degrees the artist perception, feelings and interpretation of the world’s impact and influence on the inner self. The art is the soul in it’s most sincerest and authentic form. It says, here is what affects me the most or grabs my attention and focus in the world, here is what I appreciate, understand and can or cannot relate to most in life. It says this is how I think, feel and see things. It’s the soul emerging into the light when it appears in forms of art. It’s then left up to the onlookers to read and interpret the visual story through their own experiences and perception of things allows them.

Shernett Preliminary Sketch

Shernett Preliminary sketch of Egyptian Geese on wood panel

Art is snapshots of our environment that we may use as portals by which we revisit moments in time that has faded with the passing of time. It is always good to first read the art for yourself, then explore its meaning and significance or the concept, use of colors etc. from speaking with the artist if available.

Depicting a small are of acrylic painting on wood of Egyptian Goose.

Demonstrates a small area of acrylic painting on wood entitled, “Egyptian Geese: The Water’s Edge”

Colors are enhanced or dulls, images become distorted, realism takes shape and details are almost exacting. One way or another this is our soul’s response to and interpretation of life. Surely we all “see” things as they are before us. However, once its filter through our hearts lens our response and interpretation may be very different. Thus, we use various art forms and styles consciously and unconsciously revealing levels of distortion or clarity of the world around us.

Work In Progress: "Egyptian Geese - The Water's Edge"

Work In Progress: Preliminary Sketch on wood of acrylic painting”Egyptian Geese – The Water’s Edge”

The display of artistic brilliance I encounter in my day to day travels in the art of creation is a continuous motivation for this series of paintings, “The Waters Edge, Florida Inside Out.  I find it nonsensical to be filled with such awe for the majesty seen in the Art Of Creation and still ignore the Creator of such works of art.

Painting "Egyptian Geese The Water's Edge"

Demonstrating a small area of acrylic painting on wood titled “Egyptian Geese: The Water’s Edge”

” Who created the heavens and the earth, and sends down for you water from the cloud? Then We cause to grow thereby beautiful gardens — it is not possible for you to make the trees thereof to grow. Is there a god with Allah? Nay, they are a people who deviate! Or, Who made the earth a resting-place, and made in it rivers, and raised on it mountains, and placed between the two seas a barrier? Is there a god with Allah? Nay, most of them know not! Or, Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil, and will make you successors in the earth? Is there a god with Allah? Little is it that you mind! Or, Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea, and Who sends the winds as good news before His mercy? Is there a god with Allah? Exalted be Allah above what they associate (with Him). Or, Who originates the creation, then reproduces it, and Who gives you sustenance from the heaven and the earth? Is there a god with Allah? Say Bring your proof, if you are truthful. 

“Such is the Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Mighty, the Merciful, Who made beautiful everything that He created.” The Holy Qur’an 27: 60-64 and 32:7

Process and Development of Great Art


Image 1: Shernett Muhammad Painting "Peacock's Gait"

Image 1: My paintings are mere snapshots of the Creator’s Masterpiece, “The Art of Creation.” We’re all works of art on display in Life’s Gallery. Living the Art! “God Is In The Details!” With every area magnified and every brushstroke I found the Majesty, the Magnificence, the Brilliance and Genius of the Creative Mind of Allah (God) in ever detail. What a fascinating experience I had in replicating God’s Art, “The Peacock and Peahen.”  The artistry and science He applied in their design has me in awe.  I can only wonder about, not even imagine the Creativity and Wisdom in the Mind of God that went into the creation of this specie.

Shernett Muhammad Photo Visual of Peacock and Peahen

Image 2: My admiration of Allah God increases, because it’s from Him and His Genius, “The Art of Creation,” that human inspiration, edification and creative expressions exist and are made possible.

The Holy Qur’an reads “He, (Allah, God) created the heavens without any pillars that you can see; He set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with you; and He scattered through it animals of every kind. We send down rain from the sky, and produce on the earth every kind of noble creature, in pairs. Such is the Creation of Allah. Now show Me what is there that others besides Him have created: nay, but the Transgressors are in manifest error.”  “And the earth- We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs).”

Photo by Shernett Muhammad Visual Art

Image 3: Once again, I was driving along an unfamiliar road when I came up on some of the most beautiful birds my eyes had ever physically seen; it was incredible! I pulled my car over, grabbed my camera, told my passenger to keep an eye on things while I was distracted by these lovely Peacocks and Peahens strolling along the roadside.

Image 4 Peacock at the front yard - Shernett Muhammad Photo Visual

Image 4: I must have taken a hundred pictures of the birds as they wandered from yard to yard. The plumage of one of the male’s tail feathers was in full bloom. It was remarkably rare to see these beautiful exotic creatures wandering around a residential neighborhood.

Image 5: Gorgeous Peacock full plumage-Shernett Muhammad Photo

Image 5: I placed the painting under the theme ‘Harmonic Contrast’ for two reason. Firstly, in my humble opinion the dynamics and contrast in the appearance and features of the male and female peafowls are unusual. In that, generally we find or perceive the female of any species to be the more alluring or attractive of the two genders. When I first saw the birds I thought the plumage was that of the female until a little research proved otherwise.

Shernett Muhammad Photo ConceptImage 6: Photo used to pull concept together. The brown colored peafowl is the female, known as a peahen. The male, known as peacock is the guy there with that spectacular plumage around him. The extraordinary, yet unusual beauty the male possess is the most mesmerizing of the two. While the peahen has her trimmings of beauty she’s nothing compared to her counterpart, the peacock; at least not in physical appearance. My perception of the two were in contrast to the harmonic design of nature and of God. Nevertheless, what makes this theme work for me is that they are two Halves-of-a-Whole. Contrasting or  unique in appearance, yet totally interdependent. In that, their very existence, needs and ability to live and thrive as a species depends on the Harmony and Contrasting aspects of the two.

Shernett Muhammad Photo Visual

Image 7: Peacock hanging out in the front yard next to a dodge ram pickup truck. Hey he seems a little out of place to me. Shouldn’t he be in some tropical forest in some distant place or country. Well, someone said, “History is best qualified to reward all research.” So, I learned that generally the peafowls reside in dense wooded areas wherein are lots of trees. They are originally from the continents of Southeast Asia, Central Africa and Central America. They live in the wild in countries like, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, China, Egypt, Congo, Thailand, Java, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Overtime, they were domesticated by traders who brought them to the Roman Empire centuries ago. Ultimately, they were taken to Britain and eventually to the Americas wherein they were owned by the wealthy.

Working on painting - 'Peacock's Gait'

Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad

As I observed them, they had a gait of complacency; of familiarity and ease within the environment, which suggested this was home. So again, I thought of the theme ‘Harmonic Contrast.’ And a poetic thought to form in these words, “Strangely I’m here uprooted from my stately abode, my natural environment. Brought to a strange land, yet I’m no stranger for the earth is my home. Among the creatures and elements of the universe I’m a unique part of the whole harmonizing with contrasting things I adapt, survive and thrive wherever I go, I bloom where I’m planted!”

Albert Einstein said, “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”


Shernett Muhammad Art Board

Image 8: 48 x 48 inches my Art Board is Primed and Ready – On the left is the rear of the art board, which has 1.5″ inch square backing, to protrude the artwork off wall when hung. Giving it a floating appearance when hung. Just exploring my creativity. On the right -the  front side of art board is primed. I had to inspected, prepare and primed the surface of the board before applying any artwork. Otherwise the acrylic paints wouldn’t take to the surface very effectively during application and overtime. In addition, I found no defects in the board to disrupt my flow.  Below is a concepts of what I will paint. It’s a combination of two photographs.  I can go with the image as is or make some changes as the painting develops. It’s a wait and see, but I’ll enjoy the process of developing a great work of art.

Peacock and Peahen - Photo manipulation

Image 9: Photo, Grid and Concept. I manipulated two photographs to create the concept my camera did not capture. Its important for me to use a grid when inserting an outline on my work surface. Firstly, it gives me control of time and space. As this process minimizes disproportionate layout of the image and yes, reduces my frustration. If I dare go at the project free-styling, I can get the work done, but I’ll end up cutting off or loosing something important. Because my image tends to enlarge or expand beyond the initial space allotted while painting. Things will in some cases still enlarge beyond the preliminary sketch, but I’ve allotted space for that. Therefore, the grid helps me properly place and position the image and the outline helps me to control/direct my brushstrokes allowing me to explore freely as the project evolves.


Shernett Muhammad - Art Tool Kit

Image 10: Well, I have my water bucket, acrylic paints, brushes, drying rag, and art board all ready to go. I’ve worked primarily with Liquitex heavy body and soft body opaque paints for their vibrancy and consistency. I’ve also use Galleria and System 3 not as much, but at times. The brushes…well, they get the job done.

Image 6|Preliminary Sketch on wood surface

Image 11: Preliminary Sketch on Art Board. Contour lines for facial features, neck-body and feathers on the center of back just behind the neck.

Shernett Muhammad Preliminary Sketch for peacock's gait on Art Board

Image 12: Sketch on Art Board establishes peacock’s head-crest or corona, facial and eye-feathers. Contour Lines for the facial features will be filled with bold white, black and electric blue tiny pulp like feather patterns.

Shernett Muhammad Art

Image 13: Preliminary Sketch establish a directional pattern for eye-feathers. I’m currently outlining the spines and eye feathers of the peacock’s plumage. Interestingly, I find it a challenge to diagram or identify a directional pattern for the eye-feathers or ocelli. I can see several directional patterns of the eye-feathers, but they seem to be merging together the more I stare at the photo and sketch…losing it! (Lol)

Shernett Muhammad peafowls sketch and layout in progress

Image 14:  The arched-lines show the natural flow of the eye-feathers. It’s been a challenge!  But, I came up the idea to used a black marker on the actual photo that follows the direction of the white-spine arches and eyes feathers. IT WORKED!  It’s still not 100%, but its enough to move me forward.

Shernett Muhammad Work In Progress

Image 15: I coated the background surface with Liquitex Unbleached Titanium Acrylic Paint. It has a yellow-beige tone. The first coat serves as a layer of acrylics that allows me to work more efficiently against the surface, generating the details and effects I desire at a more rapid pace. I did not want to use a white or grayish background, the yellow-beige will allow my image, colors and details lift off the surface and come to life; at least that’s my hope.

Shernett Muhammad Artwork In Progress

Image 16: Tracing and Re-positioning the image. I found that the peacock’s tail would be cut off, so I needed to move the him away from the edge a little and also, give him a little more height over the peahen as I trace and re-position him. So after painting most of the background there is really no erasing of lines, it’s really painting over them. Problem! I have nothing at the moment to trace the image and re-position it. I’ve tried newsprint and sketch paper, but they’ve proved too thick. So, I darken the outline of the image on the art board covered it with newsprint rub against the pencil lines hoping to pick up a light trace, but no luck.

Shernett Muhammad

Image 17: Found a light-frosted plastic shopping bag from Pearls Arts and Craft Supply store. It’s thick, sturdy and transparent enough for tracing with a ball point pen or any rounded smooth tip object. Perfect!

Shernett Muhammad - transference and re-positioning of Image

Image 18: A black marker is used on the plastic to make the image more visible in tracing, a pencil would be ineffective. The plastic allowed me to trace and re-position the image without difficulty.

Shernett Muhammad Work In Progress

Image 19: A sheet of Carbon Transfer Paper is placed between the plastic and art broad. The back-end of my paintbrush was used as a drawing utensil to trace over and re-positioned the image successfully.  It made no grooves in the plastic, nor impeded my ability to freely trace along the marker’s contour lines.

Peacock's Plume

Image 20: While working on my painting a surge of energy came over me, it was such a good, yet brief feeling. It could have been that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction with my progress on the painting. It’s that very feeling that keeps me coming back to the drawing broad. It’s Sunday, November 17, 2013. I have what I need so far to get into more intricate areas. The face and neck areas of the peacock will be the least challenging, while the plumage will continue to present the most challenge. So, I’ll begin with the feathers and work around the perimeter of the face and neck.

Shernett Muhammad Work in Progress- Peacock's Spines for plumage

Image 21: I filled in a base color of ultramarine blue for the peacock as a gauge as I apply the white spines. I used titanium white acrylic paint to implement the base color of the spines. I used scotch blue artist tape to maintain a clean consistent arched line for the ‘spines.’ So far, I’ve counted ’83 spines.’ It’s necessary to paint the ‘spines’ of the plume first as they support the eye-feather, while the strands loosely overlaps it. This part is not so exciting, it’s rather really tedious!

Shernett Muhammad-Art Work in Progress
Image 22: Shernett’s Artwork on easel-Working on those finer details and only ‘one word’ comes to mind, ‘patience, patience, patience.’ Right this moment every brushstroke requires much of this virtue….’patience’.

Shernett Muhammad Art Work In Progress

Image 23: Working in the strands of feathers around the ocelli or eye feathers.

Shernett Muhammad Art Work In Progress

Image 24: Making progress on the painting.

IMG_3225 0000 copy

Image 25: My art is a portal to connect with the world. My talent is ever evolving capturing details of what I perceive as incredible beauties of life that I wish to share with the people of world. Everything is Art! Still I wonder what does the visual arts bring to the world? How does it connect us to each other? Can it make us friends instead of foes? According to the passage below it should.

The Holy Qur’an reads, “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah, God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”

IMG_3217 copy

Image 26: This is the instrument God gave me to connect to the world! I, like you are only given a short time to be here, we should live our lives to the best of our ability and to the fullest, humanely. Therefore, I must capture and share on canvas what I’ve seen and experienced both in humanity and in the natural world.

IMG_3214 copy

Image 27: Today I’m listening to some really beautiful serene music as I work. It makes me feel more self-assured and free with each brushstroke and my focus appears much keener. In contrast, the blurred area on the above image is there because I’ve painted over the area. The feathers appeared a bit disorganized and it bothered my eyes. Now, I’ve blended the colors nicely and repainted the eye-feathers, spines and loose strands

shernett peacock wip (1) copy

Image 28: January 2014 |  I was hoping to be finished by now, but had to pull away for a moment. It’s the New Year. Well, I’ve been working on the painting here and there, but not so consistently for the past month or so. I’ve been a little distracted by what I thought was a wonderful thing. Nevertheless, flowers tend to wither and die rapidly against the cold blast of winter’s truth. What bloomed on the branches pure and beautiful withers with impatience. Time is Art and haste makes waste! Unable to withstand the test of time, personal desires clouds our ability to appreciate or valve the time and process it takes to create great art and a great life. Life is an art; Love is an art! Relationships are an Art! God gives us the tools and skills by which we may create a masterpiece of our lives, but again, that takes time and talent. Like this painting it requires patience as you indulge your passions and creativity. Nevertheless, I’m happy for life’s beauties as they come and go they’re always enriching me as I’m “Living the Art.”

4-11-14 (1) copy

Image 29: I’ve made great progress – I’m a seed within the soil, sprouting into existence, reaching for the light of the Sun. The journey is not easy, but an essential one. So, I continue to reach for the Light, while digging my roots deeper into the soil of life, thrusting into glory. God has a plan He”ll reveal in due time. I’m Living the Art!

4-11-14 eve wm copy

Image 30: March 2014 | My grand daughter Ya’Dyana is six years old, she’s been watching and complimenting my work on the peahen as it developed. However, earlier this week she looked at the painting and said “I really like the peahen it looks real, but this one, the peacock looks fake, because you made it too light.” Well, I was impressed with her visually assessment of the painting and her ability to articulate her thoughts on it. From her critique I added more cobalt blue hue, prussian blue hue and touch of mars black to capture a realistic appearance of the peacock. She was right!

april 11 2014 (2) copy

Image 31: April 2014 | My hope was to be finished with this painting by now, but no such luck. Presently, I’m working on bringing the white spines in the peacock’s feathers back to the forefront. They’ve gotten a little subdued with other colors, no big task any. It will give the painting more vibrancy and lift.

Gravel Crack Concrete Peacock WM

Image 32: June  2014 | I”m working on bringing in a small corner of background on bottom of the art board.  It’s small but not insignificant. I think it connects the birds to the conditions or environment around them. There is a small area of cracked concrete with water stains which, I’m now adding. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that, or keep the area a solid unbleached titanium beige color. Nevertheless, I added the old water stained concrete and sprinkled a little weed grass emerge through the crack.

Weed Cracked Concrete Peacock WM copy

Image 33: I inserted some concrete, gravel, hints of grassy weeds breaking through cracks in the concrete. I like! Now I’ve gone back into the peacock’s plumage teasing, fixing and refining its feathers.

Peacocks Eye Feathers WIP WM

Image 34: Ah, how refreshing, listening to instrumentals as I paint. Takes me off to a cottage on the shoreline, or could be a lakeside cottage. The windows opened to the ocean breeze; palm leaves lining the wooden veranda. I’m in a light white cotton ensemble feeling at peace while I’m creating art. Feeling incredibly spirited, because I’m getting ready for my next art showing with some very prominent people in the art world. What a journey! Must listen to this music more often it does wonders for the mind, soul and spirit.


Image 35: This beautiful creature is a masterful work of science and artistry. From its elegant plumage to its form; the tiny iridescence colors of its feathers to the alignment and arrangement of its T-feathers, Eye feathers or Ocellis, its Head crest, or corona and so much more. There is so much to discover. This creature is a testament to the Creative Mind and Genius of Allah (God). As it lives breaths and multiplies it is a testament and a Glorification to God. Each time it raises and opens its colorful iridescence plumage its a pays homage as it glorifies its Creator.

Shernett Muhammad Painting "Peacock's Gait"

The Holy Qu’ran reads: “The seven heavens and the earth and those in them declare His glory. And there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with His praise, but you do not understand their glorification. Surely He is Forbearing, Forgiving.” Everything Allah created He made beautiful! Everything He created has its way of devotion and Glorification of Him. Everything is He created is Art! I’m Living the Art in life’s gallery!


Process and Development of Great Art: The Nation of Islam

In the great artistry of creation, the  masterpiece of Allah, (God) I find unyielding inspiration to develop and produce great art! With such subjects, how could I produce anything less? As a visual artist I’m inspired by the knowledge of things, of people and of nature. My art comes from the soul. The beauty and the ugliness of life, are both inspirations in the creation of great art. I am significantly, directed and motivated by the knowledge of God, which helps me to see the world around me in a unique manner, thereby, guiding and stimulating my creative mind as such. “Out of great suffering comes great art” and out of the Supreme Knowledge of Allah (God) great art is produced.

Everyone may not like or be comforted by my words or my art, but I do my best to not disrespect anyone, and I especially, do my best to not nullify or dim the Light on the beauty, transformation and resurrection that is happening to a once dead people. This is what this article is about. The Bible states, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” This is the goal of my life my art!

“The Timekeepers!”
Poem by Shernett Muhammad

Fathers of Civilization, Timekeepers of Past, Present and Future.
First inhabitants of the Earth, from you, all emerge.
Immeasurable your worth. Untraceable your birth.
In you all find their origin for you are Descendants
of the Originator of the Heavens and the Earth.

Maker, owner, creme of the planet, gods of the Universe.
Your women walk gracefully heads held high in esteem,
Your daughters walk in confidence, happiness alights with gleam.
Your sons speak highly of you and the things you have done.
That which you represent they aspire to become.

Fathers of Civilization, First Man in the Sun.
Keepers of Time, The Lord is never overcome.
Burned in the furnace of affliction four hundred years by the dragon.
Up from it’s ashes the Phoenix rises, a New Man, a New Day has begun.
This is the Day of the Lord! Possessors of knowledge of The Time and What Must Be Done!

"The Timekeepers" Illustrated by Nation of Islam Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad

“The Timekeepers” Illustrated by Nation of Islam Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad

Art, Soul and History

The areas I’ll cover henceforth, speaks to the dehumanization and suffering we as a people experienced, but most importantly, the healing and beauty the Nation of Islam generates in human beings; internally and externally as witnessed in my works of art and poetry. The greater my knowledge of God, Self and the people of the earth, the greater my skills and abilities improve and are purposed. What did God give me of tools and of divine expression? It is my love, passion, ability and willingness to generate works of art out of what He has enjoined on us of good. I draw from a Divine Well of Knowledge and the deeper I plunge therein the more I bring forth, that which, represents my Nation and people best. It’s important to create works of art that promotes and inspires self-values, family values, a universal knowledge and expressions of brotherhood, nationhood, love and righteousness centered around God, who is the driving and guiding force of our creative mind and energy. These are essential components of the Nation of Islam, which commands and purposes  our endeavors.

The Sketch and the Illustrations

I create 2 to 3 sketches per illustration before I transferred the image to canvas using a carbon copy transfer paper.  The drawings or sketches are used as a template, wherein, I’ve generate as much details as necessary of the concept to be illustrated. This focuses me on capturing details, explore creative continuity and quality of art, rather that, conceptualization. Everything I have in my original sketch does not always appear in the final painting, the same for the painting. I go with the flow, (this is creative continuity) as long as, the initial concept and idea is not lost.

Each illustration is supported by poetry that conveys the beauty and value that Islam teaches, cultivates in and places on the male and female, alike.

In the sketches and illustrations you see the abbreviation, F.O.I. The men and boys of the Nation of Islam are called the Fruit Of Islam or the F.O.I., and the women and girls of the Nation of Islam are known as the M.G.T. and G.C.C., Muslim Girls Training and General Civilization Class.

Throughout this article you will find that I’ve included both my preliminary sketches and illustrations for viewing. This article not only focuses on the illustrated work, but the significance of the subject, which is, the plight, the fall, but more importantly, “The Rising” and the Benefit of it all.

Preliminary Sketch of "The Timekeepers" by Artist Shernett Muhammad

Preliminary Sketch of “The Timekeepers” by Artist Shernett Muhammad

Art, Soul and History

After centuries of dehumanization and destruction of a great people and civilization, Allah, God came to North America in 1910 and made Himself known July 4, 1930. He knew the Time and What Must Be Done then and began teaching, resurrecting and organizing the despised, the rejected, the mentally and spiritually dead Black man and woman. Today we have and are learning the truth of our history and origin in the world, and the history and origin of all men, male and female, ie. reality of God and of Satan. In addition to, the measurements, sciences and mathematics of the universe; land, water, air and atmosphere. So, that we may know what happened, why and in preparation for what’s to come.

The destruction of the Black man and woman has been so thorough, that it took the coming of God in the Person of Master Wallace Fard Muhammad to break the chains and the death grip of the grave, in whose arms we have slept for over Four Hundred Years.

On the lapel of the uniform and over the hearts, just above the left pocket of the uniform of the men and boys of the F.O.I. is the abbreviation W.F.M. which stands for Wallace Fard Muhammad, the name of The Supreme Being, Who has Resurrected, Lazarus (the Blackman and woman) from a mental and spiritual death. He came by Himself to give and has given the Black man Life, Light and Power.

With centuries of lies and tricks that made us to believe that we were nothing and had never contributed anything to the building and advancement of civilization, today we dig through the debris of lies and illusions designed by the enemy of God and the righteous, discovering and uncovering the Truth. It is my aim through my works of art to capture and depict the Truths of the past, present and future as taught to us by God, Himself and His Messengers as it unfolds and is revealed in society.

Title "Father of Civilization" Illustrated by Shernett Muhammad Visual Artist

Title “Father of Civilization” Illustrated by Nation of Islam’s Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad

“Fathers of Civilization”
Poem by Shernett Muhammad

Chosen of God, Army of Saviours, Soldier of Righteousness
Men who alight in God’s Favor.
A badge of Peace shields your heart.
Upon your head a Crown of Rulership, the Sun, Moon and Star.
Men of God, Saviours and Soldiers.
Bearers of a Universal Government, a Sovereign Nation is on your Shoulders.

Torchlight of a New World, Pearls of Wisdom abounds within.
Men marvel at your Discipline, for your Duties you’re ever fulfilling.
You’re the admiration of your sons and daughters.
They’re the joy of your life, filled with love and laughter.

Fathers of Civilization, the Earth wept while you slept.
Today she seeks aſter your rise, to bring her back from her demise.
Builder of Worlds the Time has come. Look, amidst the African plains
The Sphinx watches the horizon for the Rising Son.
For you are the Solution to The Time and What Must be Done!

Preliminary Sketch by Nation of Islam Artist Shernett Muhammad

Preliminary Sketch “Father of Civilization” by Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad

Up from spiritual and mental death

It is a tremendous mercy and blessing to now know our true identity, origin, plight and future. I’ve cried many tears in the past when I did not know, nor could I understand why we were, as we are, even today, at the bottom of society. To have the knowledge and understanding of God, self and the enemy of God and the righteous is the most valuable aspect of life. Allah, (God) in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad said, He came to reawaken the Creative Mind and to bring justice to both the black man and the white man.

Reawakening our Creative Mind means far more than my ability to paint art, and even your ability to practice medicine as it is today. Allah came that we may know Him, firstly, and to know His purpose for our creation and that of the universe. He reawakens the Creative Minds of a Nation of gods, in whom, His Creative Mind and Genius have Slept for centuries, so that another could rule the earth for a period of time. The end of that era draws to a close. The awakening of our Creative Mind is the awakening of the Genius of God in us. The Genius gives us light, life and power in self-reliance, self-mastery, the knowledge and mastery of all the sciences of life. And the ability and wisdom to control, chart, create and forge our own destinies, futures, world and sovereignty according to the Will and Brilliance of Allah (God) in Whom, by Whom and through Whom we all exist.

All that I have is my talent and my ability to explore my environment and share my perspective through works of art. What I desire is a heavenly world, wherein, people care for each other on all levels; a world wherein every human being have the will, freedom, education and love to explore and reach their fullest potential. A world wherein crime and violence is practically nonexistent. I paint to capture and to share the way of life and culture that gives me new life, direction, focus and purpose and to highlight the beauties of Allah in the art of creation.



Minister Louis Farrakhan explains, “We must treat women with the greatest of respect and honor believing that they are sacred.” “The female, believing that she is sacred, should never allow herself to be violated, disrespected, and dishonored and, must never violate and dishonor herself.” “If the female will see herself as sacred and, if we, the males, will see our females as sacred, then, perhaps we can reverse criminal tendencies in our children and bring forth from this sacred chamber called womb, children in the image of Allah (God); children made like the Great Prophets, Sages, Kings and Rulers of righteous bearing.” 

I’m building this body of creative works, as it relates to the female around the theme, “SheThe Feminine Essence of God In the Art of Creation.” It’s a study that allows me greater insight into “The Priceless and Immeasurable Value of the Female” as taught and represented by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Teachings of the Nation of Islam. The intrinsic value of the feminine essence of God I’ve attempted to capture and conveyed in both art and poetry.

Alameen WM

Illustration by Nation of Islam Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad, Title “Alameen – Womb Universe”

 “Alameen – Womb-Universe”
Poem by Shernett Muhammad

She is the Arm of God, the Expression of His Embrace.
Holding dear the child to her bosom, the tender grasp of His Grace.
She is the Heartbeat of God, through her, He continues the Cycle of Life.
Coursing through the veins of time; in time a child is born.
Into the universe emerges one after another.
The greatest Demonstration of His Genius is Mother.

Mother, the Manifestation of His Love; His Mind, upon her Soul He imprints.
She bathes her children in His Wisdom and clothe them with His Spirit.
They tread the terrain crowned in intelligence, keen with instinct.
She is Womb-Universe, entrusted with the Gift of Life.
Her Value is Immeasurable. HerWorth, Infinite.

Out of great suffering is born great art!

Art comes from within. It is a window into the soul and thoughts of the artist. In many cases it reveals the artist’s pain struggles and joy. Art manifests aspects of the artist personality, thinking and outlook on the world or immediate environment. One may often find in the artist work the extent to which a subject or theme impacts, impresses or influences he or she. The artist work is often influenced by and reflects the contemporary. All forms of the arts are used today and it was in ancient times to influence and move the masses in the direction the ruling powers of that era desired. It a proven science, one of the greatest example of how art moves the masses is the many paintings and depiction of Jesus as a white man, while the bible speaks of him in language, as a man with “hair like lambs wool and feet like fine brass, burnt in a furnace.”

Islam has great influence on the way I perceive and depict the world and my subjects and the quality of that art. Yet, I’ve struggled for a very long time with the idea of images I desired to create verses images prospects may more appreciate. Because of the negative climate surrounding my subject matter and because of the financial backlash, oftimes I find that I’m hesitant to create. But my Creative Mind continues to be strengthened by truth. Hence, the value and importance of creating these images  causes me to press through that fear and create.

Someone recently said to me “Time is Money” my immediate response was money is absolutely needed and necessary, but “Time is Art;” it’s about creative things that sustains, inspires, advances our lives and produces a heavenly environment all over the earth.

Shernett Muhammad Art

Image 2: 1 of 3 Preliminary Sketches done before transferring the image to canvas.

The illustrations are meant to demonstrate and represent the process of our awakening, transformation and rise from a savage people into gods; children of the Most High, Allah (God); our Father, the Origination of the Heavens and the Earth. Not an easy process, but a necessary, desired and achievable one.

Being a member of a race of people that was a once great civilization, yet today, we’re at the bottom of society after been brought to naught; abducted, raped, pillaged, destroyed and stripped of everything we’re now awakening. This is an honorable and a proud position to be in after such devastation. To be reborn into our true nature and identity I must use the tools that God has given me to create art in such a way that tells our story and write a new book that demonstrates our great plight, our great progress, struggles and advancements. It’s my deepest desire to reclaim all that we’ve lost, all that we are and all that we are to become. Can I illustrate that through art? I’m certainly going to try.

Shernett Muhammad Art

Image 4 | 2 of 3 Preliminary Sketches done before transferring the image to canvas.

“The feminine essence and nature of God in the Art of creation”

These beautiful illustrations represent one of the most significant aspect of a Female to God, society and creation. She, the Female is the shaper of new minds, new characters and new human beings. It’s in and through her “womb” that we are formed, imprinted upon and enter the world. It is by her mental disposition, her intellect or the lack thereof that helps to shape our basic fundamental thought patterns and constitution. She impresses and shapes the child in its initial stages of life with a certain mental disposition and certain tendencies. Therefore, intelligence, spiritual acuity, good health are essential components to bring forth children of high intelligence, spiritual acuity all in the image and likeness of Allah, God. And that is the most important factor of the female, the feminine essence and nature of God in creation.

Minister Louis Farrakhan states, “We know it is improper to violate the sacred house of Allah (God), and, as Muslims we are exhorted by Allah (God) to protect all houses where Allah’s (God’s) name is remembered. How much more sacred is the womb of our mothers and the wombs of our female children and the wombs of the females in our society? How much more protection should be placed on the female? How much more should she and we guard her chastity? How much more should we be taught and encouraged not to violate the sacredness of the channel that leads to the sacred chamber where Allah (God) Himself works with women to bring about the answers or solutions to all human problems?”

Hanan WM

Illustrated by Nation of Islam Artist Shernett Muhammad Title “Hanan” (Gracious Gift of God).

Hanan, Celebrate Her
Poem by Shernett Muhammad

There is no greater demonstration of God’s Love,
Wisdom and Benevolence than, Mother!
She is the Feminine Essence and Nature of God in Creation;
She is the Sacred Chamber!
Through her human beings enter the world
fashioned by their Maker.
From her womb she brings forth new life, standard bearer of nations.
Mother of civilizations.
Celebrate her mind; she is divine, a blessing to mankind.

The Female is essential to the building and establishment of a nation, and even greater, the advancement and evolution of a civilization that is the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Minister Louis Farrakhan explains, “We will never have a heavenly life until we have Godly females who love Allah (God) with their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and, who will never come down from the elevated place that Allah (God) desires for the female.”

Image 5 | Preliminary Sketch done before transferring the image to canvas.

Image 5 | Preliminary Sketch done before transferring the image to canvas.


The Value of A Woman is not Trivial
It is of Supreme Science, Mathematics, Artistry and Spirituality

The Female is the living replica of the womb of space, the womb of the universe. Before there were light and form of any kind the Mind of Allah (God) has always been a living conscious and creative reality in the tremendously thick blackness of what we call space. That immense Blackness of Space is the Spirit, the Mind, the Essence of Allah God, in, from and through which, He created His Form and emerged, a Living ‘Being’ The Supreme Being, The First Man in existence.

And from Himself, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches, His next act of creation was the female. He created the Woman, the Feminine Essence of God in Creation. She’s not made from man’s rib as taught in the bible.

He teaches, that after Allah, God, Created Himself out of Triple Darkness; in the Blackness of the womb of space, He did a careful study of Himself and found within His own constitution, the Feminine Essence and Nature of Himself. That part of Him, wherein, gestation transpired and the new life was secured, nurtured and developed stage after stage until He emerged a Living Being, a Self-Created, well-made Man in Whom “The Spirit” of Allah, God is Housed.

“Maryam – Heaven’s Embrace!”
Poem by Shernett Muhammad

She is Science, Mathematics and Arts!
She is the Laboratory of the Creator

He begins in her Thoughts.
Super Knowledgeable, abound
by the Wisdom of her Maker.

Through her womb He writes on the Nature.
Forming the mind, character and intelligence of her child,
with Him, she is co-creator!

Maker of men and women small and great;
prophets, sages, scientists, kings,
presidents and rulers, from her, all emanate.

She is Divine! Celebrate her Mind,
Her Womb is Heaven’s Embrace!

Title "Maryam" Illustration by Nation of Islam Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad

Title “Maryam – Heavens Embrace” Illustration by Nation of Islam Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad

Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches that “Heaven Lies at the Foot of Mother” and he explains, “This speaks to the kind of mother whose heart, mind, and soul is fixed on Allah (God) ; His Thoughts and His Ways that are found in the Words of Allah (God) in the scriptures of the Bible and Qur’an.” He continues, “In order for heaven to be at the woman’s foot or mother’s foot, mother has to be in complete submission or surrender of her life to the Will of Almighty (God) Allah.”  “If she is elevated in consciousness, filled with the Word and Spirit of Allah (God), filled with the knowledge of self and Allah (God), then, when she is with child we can expect that she will be like Mary, a good mother.”

Preliminary Sketch done before transferring the image to canvas.

Preliminary Sketch done before transferring the image to canvas.

The Mind of Allah (God) is infinite, it’s omnipresent. When we were conceived in the womb we were conceived IN the MIND of Allah (God). When we exited the womb we were and are born INTO the MIND of Allah. As we exit the womb of mother into the world, the universe we enter another dimension of the MIND of God; we are never outside of His Mind. All that our percepts picks up of sight, sound, smell, taste and tactile in the world, the universe it picks up in the MIND of Allah (God). Before there was the material or physical form of anything in existence, there existed the Mind, Spirit and Intelligence of Allah, God in the Blackness of space without form, but having supreme life!

In this realm we are giving individuality, and like Him we’re living material beings housing the spirit of God; that which give us life as it electrifies and energizes our mind, soul, and body.  We live in the universe, we live in the Mind of Allah (God). The Physical Form Allah (God) created is used to House His Spirit, His Essence, His Mind. He uses His Physical Form to interact with and engage the ‘physical’ and ‘material’ world He created.

The Creation  and Value of The Female

Now, after He created His Form, He studied His Self-Creation and His next act of creation was He “the Female” from Himself, a replica of the Womb of the Universe that He used to bear His Physical Form and Life. The Feminine Essence and Nature of Allah, God is a replica of the Womb of the Universe, in which, new life forms and enters the world.

Sketch by Nation of Islam Artist Shernett Muhammad

Preliminary Sketch before transferring image to canvas.

Women in Islam Dress Style
Oppression verse Protection, Value and Moral Uprightness

There are those who believe that Islam oppresses women and girls, its the absolute opposite. Islam elevates, liberates, beautifies and edifies women and girls. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Messenger of Allah says, “No Nation Can Rise Higher Than Its Woman.” That means its an absolute must that every female is educated to her fullest potential, protected on all levels, and secured in a manner that allows her to develop, manifest and exercise her innate abilities without interference. It is essential that she conceives, brings forth and cultivates new life and new human beings, boys and girls without the influence or interference of negative forces.

What we see in the world, in North America, Asia, Europe or any continent or island on this earth, wherein the female is abused, oppressed and exploited is the diminished mental capacity and handiwork of depraved mankind. It’s NOT from or of God, or the prophets and scriptures He sent. The prophets and scriptures were sent to correct, guide and elevate the mental, spiritual, moral capacity of mankind to conduct themselves and affairs in the best manner.

Illustration by Nation of Islam Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad, Title "Alameen - Womb Universe"

Illustration by Nation of Islam Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad, Title “Alameen – Womb Universe”

Process and Development of Great Art!
Women in Islam Dress Style
Oppression verse Protection, Value and Moral Uprightness

These Illustrations depict beautiful women that are covered in modestly beautiful attires. Westernized world and cultures say that the dress-styles of Muslim women are oppressive as stated before. They also believe that the Muslim woman  is treated as an inferior and unequal counterpart to males in Islam. And that the practice of Islam is against the woman in Islam and attack her liberty and freedom to express herself as she sees fit. But this outlook on the women in Islam is false. It’s false, incorrect,  misunderstood and misrepresented, in that, it is just the opposite.

This country, this world devalues, disrespects and abuses females (women and girls) on every plain of existence, far beyond any of the modest attire of Muslim women. The Nation of Islam, the Laws of Islam and the Holy Qur’an administers the Law equally and with justice for both women and men alike. Women and men both have freedom, justice and equality under Islam. The abuses we witness in the name of religion i.e., Islam or Christianity are the workings of depraved mankind and the active work of  Satanic minds and influences.

Covering ourselves serves as protection and makes a distinction as to who we are, our standards, our values and our beliefs. As a protection we cover the parts of our bodies that attract the male sextually, rather than intellectually moral. This is a society, a world wherein the female is highly sexualized and undressed to attract and arouse.

Covering Ourselves is not about oppression, inequality or inferiority, it’s about self-respect. Thus, it represents our state of mind and standards in a world that does not value the nature, virtue or personage of the female.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan says, “Men of this world do not want righteous women.” This a world that exploits and abuses the female, the feminine essence of God in creation. Therefore the Allah God says in the  Holy Qur’an:

“And say to the believing women that they lower their gaze and restrain their sexual passions and do not display their adornment except what appears thereof. And let them wear their head-coverings over their bosom.” HQ 24:31

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan continues, “Cover yourselves so that men will not be attracted by the beauty of your body, but through righteous conversation let them be attracted to the beauty of your mind and your spirit.”

Series of Illustrations entitled "She. Feminine Essence of God in the Art of Creation

Visual Artist Shernett Muhammad and a Series of her Illustrations

Being raised a christian, Islam was not hard for me to accept. I had a great desire to know and understand God, self and the world. I had a great desire to strive to live in a manner that would be pleasing to God. Sure I have my ups and downs, my strengthens and weaknesses.  Accepting my true nature and religion, Islam, came about in my search for knowledge and understanding of myself, and answers to what happened, in particular, to place black people in the condition we are in throughout the earth. My question was, “Why were we as whole, not as individuals, at the bottom of everything in society?” I knew something went wrong and it was still going wrong, but no one had the ANSWERS, EXCEPT the Nation of Islam and the Teachings of Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

Painting these images is of great significance to me, as they are a part of the process of healing. They’re significant because they symbolize my struggle against a fear and self-doubt so entrenched that it interferes with my personal progress. My art continues to build my self-confidence and aid in the process of self-discovery and self-actualization.

The images are therapeutic, in that, each one breaks and removes the psychological chains and effects that generations of a slavery, dehumanization, racism, sexism, classism has instill not only mentally but genetically. All of which is due to the lost of self-knowledge, self-esteem and self love. Each image I paint and share is a healing for me to face my deepest impediments those known and those unidentified, but experienced nonetheless. There’s a saying, “To thine own self be true” I paint these images, as they help me to be true to myself. I’m constantly working and striving to free my mind, heart, soul and spirit being at peace, living my truth and being myself in this hostile environment. After the suffering and savage destruction of my foreparents, my culture, my identity I am obligated to do what it takes to reclaim who I truly am once knowledge has come to free me. This is the Day of The Lord, The Time and What Must be Done!

Islam is a beautiful world and way of life, that brings about a beautiful mind and beautiful human beings. No one is perfect, but that’s the goal of life, becoming one in perfect union with Allah, God. Well pleasing to Him and being well pleased!

Process and Development of Great Art! “Florida Everglades”

 “Florida Everglades: Flight of the Egrets”

Florida Everglades: The Egrets

Title “Florida Everglades Flight of the Egrets” Medium Acrylics on Canvas|Size 48 x 60.5 | Canvas Cut, Sand, Constructed, Stretched and Primed by Shernett

“The Word and Artistry of God”
“Seest thou not that Allah, God, is He, Whom do glorify all those who are in the heavens and the earth, and the birds with wings outspread? Each one knows its prayer and its glorification. And Allah is Knower of what they do.” Holy Qur’an 24:41. My work is an adoration and acknowledgment of the Mastery and Majesty of Allah, God in the Art of Creation. All we see, experience and are, is the Artistry, the Design of God. When the physical world excites my creative senses I extract from this to create great works of art, that is of itself a splendor in design and form. We marvel at the wonders and beauties of nature, but often neglect to marvel at the Creator,  for the genius He exhibits in Creation!  He is “The Artist,” the One Who Created it All! I’m an apprentice exploring, studying and learning from the Master of Creation.
Florida Everglades
“Reflections on the Everglades Trip”

Image 2: In the Florida Everglades with Mother Tynnetta on an airboat in the swamps:  Our adventure began at the Billie Swamp Safari, 2,200 acres Big Cypress Reservation. This majestic land allows people a rare first-hand look into this natural untamed world. Billie Swamp Safari offers daily tours into reservation wetlands wherein wildlife proliferates. There are sightings of deer, water buffalo, bison, wild hogs, hawks, eagles other rare birds and alligators, which are common things to see – there is also, the mention of the Florida panthers in the area.

Mother Tynnetta Muhammad, a world traveller, researcher, author, musician, designer and educator this day was focus on the Black Seminole Indians. They were among the Seminole Indian tribes, also, known as the Unconquered Seminoles, who escaped into the Florida Everglades after fighting a fierce war against the U.S. government in the early-mid 1800’s. “Around 500 Seminoles remained in Florida, managing to hide in the Everglades, moving ever southward into areas wherein, it is said, white men dared not venture.” “The Black Seminoles are Black Indians associated with the Seminole people in Florida and Oklahoma. They are the descendants of free blacks and escaped slaves – maroons – who allied with Seminole groups in Spanish Florida.”

Everglades Tour WM SheCrescent 2
“Reflections on the Trip”

Image 3: In the Florida Everglades with Mother Tynnetta on an airboat in the swamps: While she gathered data, I gathered photographs. Unfortunately, the majority of my photos are locked away in my crashed laptop. Nevertheless, while we were in the very dangerous swamps of the Everglades on an airboat with our Seminole tour guide he explained, “The Egrets nested in the trees partially submerged in the swamp infested alligator waters to secure their nests from other predators.” This statement was the motivator for this painting and the photograph labeled Image 4. I was so greatly intrigued by the brilliance of this system and concept of these birds, having the instinctiveness and awareness of their environment and of themselves to establish a secure habitat for themselves and their offspring in such a manner. I give all praise to Almighty Allah, God for His Intelligent Design in the art of creation.

The Holy Qur’an states “And there is no animal in the earth, nor a bird that flies on its two wings, but (they are) communities like yourselves. We have not neglected anything in the Book. Then to their Lord will they be gathered.”  Holy Qur’an 6:38. All Praise is due to Allah!

Everglades Tour WM SheCrescent 3

Image 4: Florida Everglades: Egrets Nesting In Trees – Photo by Shernett Muhammad: He continues, “Nonetheless, some baby egrets fall from their nest and become food for the gators below them.” I would say, this is the cycle of life in action, the Law of Nature or the mizan (the balance) established by God in the natural order and design the universe. Allah rewards us, man and beast, in like manner base on that which we have done.

Developing Painting from my Everglades Tour
“Why I develope the background, first?”
Image 5: Work In Progress | Preliminary drawing on canvas without a Grid. Next, Background Painted in: As you may see in Image 5, I began painting the background first, because it’s the largest and most consistent area in the painting. It does not have many variables and is an area that is visible around every object; twigs, leaves, branches and birds. So, its best to complete it first. Otherwise, I may not get the consistency or appearance I’m looking for without having to tamper with or damage the more detailed areas I may have already worked on. Attempting to blend colors in and around the main subjects while trying to integrate the background, also, interferes with the natural flow and direction of my brushstrokes. Moving on, I didn’t use a grid on this painting, it was not needed. I selected areas from my photograph of the clusters of Egrets nesting in Image 4 and Image 4A to concentrate on. I really didn’t want the focus on the foliage. I wanted to get closer to the nesting birds by bringing them closer through my art. As if, they were with an arm’s reach. Smiles!
beautiful sky-process and development of great art
Image 5a. The above photograph of the beautiful sky was taken on a different occasion and not for this painting, but for its beauty: I tend to keep my camera with me, taking photographs of things that appeal to my creative senses. So that, when I’m working on a new subject or painting I may have a variety of sources to pulled from. As I’ve done with my photograph above, which I’ve used to create the background colors for this painting.
Egrets Nesting
“Selecting and Developing Areas of Focus”
Image 4 A: Snapshot view of the actual photograph Focus Area-Image 6/7 of the Egrets Nesting in Florida Everglades: I wanted to capture the slender elongated branches with leaves reaching upward into blue sky, but it was not altogether what I visualized. It was May, daylight savings time, around 6 o’clock or so. The skies still appears light blue, but the sunlight was beginning to soften as it got later in the evening. I wanted a bit of coloring behind the trees to set the mood of what I was experiencing for those few moments. So, I used one of my other photographs with lovely sunset skies; a mixture of both warm and cool tones: bluish-purple accented by peachy-orange and hints of soft yellow gradients. It was a little challenging, but I was satisfied.
Developing Painting from my Everglades Tour
Image 6: Work In Progress – The Birds painted after Background and Brown Shades of Branches and Twigs added, next: Shown in Image 7 below, as more intricate details were being established, I began diminishing the fuchsia-purplish tones with shades of blues and soft overlays of apricot-peach. Both colors blended in certain areas to create a gradient feel. Next, I put a basecoat of acrylics with some basic shades and tones on the branches in preparation for detailing the twigs and branches. The application of light and dark brown tones allows me to create shadows and highlights where necessary, bringing the birds to the foreground in a more distinguished manner.
Shernett Muhammad Snapshot View of "Florida Everglades Flight of the Egrets"

Image 7: Snapshot View a Detailed & Completed version of Image 4A & Image 6

Work In Progress on painting by Shernett Muhammad

Image 8: Work In Progress – Snapshot View-layering branches and twigs with coats of brown tones preparing for detailing: The far right-mid section of the painting has shades of color that depicts the open sky. Nonetheless, I’ve decided to place another bird in that space, except I don’t want it nesting in the tree. I wanted it in flight. So, I penciled-in an egret in flight onto the background I’ve already painted. This was the purpose for doing the background first, so that I may work in the foreground at will. The bird wasn’t in the initial layout, but visually, it was more appealing and brought more energy and life to the painting. Take a look at the integration of the Egret in flight in Image 9 and 10.

Shernett Muhammad Painting Work In ProgressImage 9: Work In Progress | Snapshot View – Compare Image 8 take note of the Great Egret in flight added to the right.


Egrets Nesting 5

Image 10: Snapshot View of Completed and Detailed painting of Image 8 and 9: In Image 10 and 9 you can comparatively see the level of work and detailing that have gone into completing the birds, branches and nests. I didn’t want to incorporate too many leaves, just enough to create the setting. I didn’t want to lose too much of my background, it brings a warm sunset feeling to the painting and I wouldn’t want to hide that behind too many leaves.

Shernett Muhammad Process and Development of Great Art - 'Flight of the Egrets'

Image 11: Work In Progress | Painting birds and detailing twigs and branches seen in Image 12. It is an absolute thrill to watch the painting come alive!

Shernett Muhammad Painting "Florida Everglades-Flight of the Egrets"Image 12. Snapshot View of  Detailed and Completed version of Image 4A, 6, and 11

Shernett Muhammad Art Work In ProgressImage 13: Work In Progress – The background and birds are in for the most part, but there’s still lots of work to be done: I’ve got the form, features and tones in. Now, it’s time to work on the finer details that will make the image appear more realistic. This requires another level of patience and skill, but that’s what I LiVe for…right!!! Smiles. My focus here is the lower left side and center of the painting and the birds circled in the photo of Images 13, 14 and 15. In Image 14 I brought the bird I circled more to the foreground from behind the leaves and made him a part of the focal point seen in Image 13 and especially 15.

Egret Nesting6Image 14: Snapshot view of photograph for painting highlighting other areas on the photograph that have been used: The 3 birds circled in Image 14  photo can be seen in the painting in more details in Image 15 below.

Egret Nesting6aImage 15: Snapshot view of painting “Florida Everglades-Flight of the Egrets” | Image 15, the birds nesting, not flying, are the completed version of Images 13 and 14. I minimized the leaves and branches to avoid obscuring the birds that I was focused on. I liked the effect and appearance of the dried leaves in contrast to the rich green leaves, so I dispersed them around the nests throughout the painting.

Art by Shernett Muhammad - Creating Great Art!Image 16: Snapshot view | Work In Progress-Developing the finer details, building up highlights and contrasting tones brings more details to the surface:  I’ve incorporated another bird in flight; the direction, size, positioning and tones mattered. I wanted this bird to appear, as if, he were flying off the canvas. He was the most energetic feature of the painting.

Shernett Muhammad "Florida Everglades-Flight of the Egrets"Image 17: Snapshot view of painting “Florida Everglades-Flight of the Egrets | Like the warmth of the horizon in the back I wanted the foreground to carry more strength and energy. So, the Great Egret in the foreground, the spread of his wings are commandingly elegant, strong and alluring to the onlooker. This painting, in particular, the Great Egret with wings outspread represent the solace, intrigue and beauty of the Everglades in it’s purest form.

Shernett Muhammad - Process and Development of Great ArtImage 18: Work In Progress – Snapshot view of the painting and development of the Great Egret: In the Word and Art of God we see and read:

Do they not see the birds above them spreading and contracting (their wings)? Naught upholds them save the Beneficent. Surely He is Seer of all things. — Holy Quran, chapter 67, verse 19.

Shernett Muhammad - Process and Development of Great Art

“More Reflections on Everglades Trip”
Image 19:  Painting “Florida Everglades-Flight of the Egrets:” Upon stepping out of the airboat onto the wooden platform, as I stood up and looked back at the massive swampy untamed waters of the Glades a dreadful feeling came over me as I reflected on the deadly creatures that are in those waters. I saw and photographed an alligator that was about 2 to 3 feet from the airboat we were in. It came to the surface from beneath the swamp (unfortunately that along with hundreds of  photos are locked away in my laptop that crashed). Anyhoo. there was this very large alligator staring back at us, as if, we were the spectacle and he, the spectator coming up to see the strange creatures in the swamps.
 Everglades Tour WM SheCrescent 2A
Again, our Seminole tour guide explained that when you see one male alligator, usually, there are about 40 female alligators below him. Well, we thought WOW…as our imagination ran with the thought of what was beneath us it didn’t seem to strike fear us then. Not until I disembarked the airboat and looked back on the water did that fear arise. Maybe, Allah God removed the fear and replaced it with knowledge, intrigue and excitement because that what we sought and felt as we rode freely, spoke enthusiastically, took photos and explored the terrain. It was elating! I looking forward to going again.
Article Title:
“Black Seminoles in the Everglades Escaped U.S. Entrapment in the Early 1800s and Survive to this Day!”
By Mother Tynnetta Muhammad
Excerpt from Mother Tynnetta Muhammad Article on this trip and a previous one to the Florida Everglades.
“I learned while I was there that the nearby reserve in the Everglades is called Brighton where I was taken 50 years ago through the guidance of a great, great grandson of the famous chief Osceola who is remembered for his warrior spirit and veracity as the chief of the Seminoles who never relinquished their freedom to the United States government by not signing an official peace treaty. For this bravery and stand, they are known today as the “Unconquered Seminoles.” I remembered being their guest on the Brighton Reserve as a lone traveler passing several days and nights in the old wooden church on their property. Here I was again in this place, at the Billy Swamp Safari, being taken to the launching pad of a deep water adventure.

As we boarded the small airboat manned by a Seminole guide, we entered a stretch of the Everglades teaming with live alligators. We even had to sign a release form attendant to any accident or liability that might occur as we pondered over the risks that were involved. It was a true, life adventure being in this type of wilderness environment, which is also home to a variety of venomous snakes, Black bears, panthers and other species of wild life. In following up from our last journey to the island of San Andros, we may remember that we visited with a Black Seminole village on the northwest shore in a vicinity called Red Bays. There we met some of its community leaders who traced the origin and history of their presence in San Andros having escaped persecution from the United States government.

While at the gift shop and bookstore, AH-TAH-THI-KI Museum, we were guided to purchase a book entitled: “The Black Seminoles,” by author Kenneth W. Porter. As we dive into life experiences, we learn about the wonders of our planet and of our universe and our divine creation from the mind and the thought of Almighty God Allah which covers the sphere of eternity. As long as we are mentally awakened and travel with universal consciousness, we are learning more and more about our immortality.

It was a rather adventurous experience at the Billy Swamp Safari Seminole Indian Reservation in the Florida Everglades. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to going again, for two reasons. One, to hopefully recapture some extraordinary photographs of nature and the other to learn more about those Black Seminoles, to see what aspects of the culture, history and identity still remains, if any at all at the point.

Process and Development of Great Art! “Concrete Jungle”

 “Concrete Jungle: Monk Parrots Morning Bath”

The subject, title or theme is as important as the  painting:

“Capturing the essence of you in the art of creation” is a slogan, a theme that summarizes my artistic inspiration, creative perspective, and interests. Creation deals with everything in the material or physical universe created by Allah, God. More specific, my focus is humanity and nature, at present as it relates to birds, skylines and plant life. When I set out to paint a subject I not only want to capture it’s form, but I want to capture the essence and energy emanating from that person, place or thing. Essence is found in the function, behavior and beauty of that subject in its natural element or environment; doing what makes it unique amidst its surroundings. That’s intriguing!

Painting by Shernett Muhammad

Painting “Concrete Jungle: Monk Parrots Morning Bath”

The title is as important as the painting for me! Once I have my subject, concept, photos and or drawings I may have a title that I’m working around in my head for my painting. However,  the title doesn’t always emerge at the initial stage, a lot of times it comes together on completion of the painting. The title is the headliner, highlighting the significance and main features of the painting. It’s a combination of the intellectual and creative components of my visual story. The first part of the title “Concrete Jungle” answers my curiousity as to why these exoctic birds have been popping up all round American cities. The other part is what brought me to photographing and capturing them on canvas.

So, here is what happened on that beautiful morning around 7:30 am: 
As I sat in my gallant behind the industrial complex waiting for the doors to open to get my day started, a flock of exotic birds, known as monk parrots swooped down into a large puddle of water that had settled after the overnight rain. They were about 15 feet away ruffling feathers, stirring water dipping in and out shaking their small feathered exterior as they bath and drank.
 Exotic Monk Parrots by Shernett Muhammad
Process and Development of Great Art: Getting the shot!
I quickly and quietly grabbed my camera praying that I do not lose the shot; I knew they would be gone as quickly as they came. It was such a perfect moment, but not a perfect shot. I anxiously snapped away. Leaning gently over to the passenger seat trying my best to stabilize my camera so as to not blur the images or spook them with my movement I peered through the window taking the shot. My camera is a fujifilm 10 mega pixels 15 x wide lens and did the best it could under the circumstances. I only got two pictures before the flock took flight disappearing into the morning light. Both of my photos have some blurring from lack stability, pixelation and the motion of the birds taking flight. Still, I had what I needed to create a great work of art.
 Exotic Monk  Parrots Shernett Muhammad Photo
Process and Development of Great Art: Coloring the Mood!

It was not enough that I had the shot, I wanted the birds to fly off the canvas too. So, how was I going to accomplish this?  I wanted them to own the space to bring the viewer into the place and moment where I was when I took the shot. So, along with the images of the birds I used photoshop to play around with color; expressive of the mood and atmosphere at that moment. They spent no more than about 30 maybe 40 seconds before they were gone.

Exotic Monk Parrots by Shernett Muhammad
Process and Development of Great Art: Details and Painting!

Next, I combined both shots; birds waddling around in water, while others took flight.  The medium I used was acrylics on pre-stretched canvas, size 48 x 54.  I drew the images onto the canvas without gridding. I did not need a grid in this case. I had my photographs and I wanted the freedom to move the birds around to fit into my concept. Because my photos were blurred to some degree I did not want to rely on my memory so I found some images online to capture details, proportion and the features of the birds. Before I began painting the birds I brought in the background. as you see below, most of the background details are in, while the form of the birds are still a work in progress.

Work In Progress Monk Parrots By Shernett Muhammad

Work In Progress: Monk Parrots Morning Bath – Unfinished

Below: I thought of creating a more tropical scene adding this elephant ear plant, but that would not be true to what I saw and what came to mind upon them landing. So I ditched that idea.

Developing concept for painting "Concrete Jungle" by Shernett Muhammad

Work In Progress: Exploring an idea in developing painting “Concrete Jungle”

After some research I learned that exotic birds, like the monk parrots arrived here in more recent years from Central and South America by merchants. A law was enforced forbidding the importing and selling of these birds. Needless to say, merchants had to release them.

Being away from their natural habitat, the rainforest of Central & South America they have adapted to the concrete jungles of the North America in the United States. Thriving and multiplying they are primarily seen in the suburbs and occasionally in urban areas after an overnight rainfall leaves a large puddle of rainwater in an industrial complex parking lot.

Concrete Jungle sold WM

Painting by Shernett Muhammad “Concrete Jungle-Monk Parrots Morning Bath”

Painting displayed in home of new owner.
Concrete Jungle by Shernett Muhmammad

Painting: “Concrete Jungle-Monk Parrots Morning Bath” Displayed in home of new owner

Upcoming in the Process and Development of Great Art! My Painting
“Florida Everglades: Flight of the Egrets”

Process and Development of Great Art! “Seeded Minds”

Process and Development of Great Art

Nation Of Islam Art

2011 Nation of Islam ‘s MGT and GCC engrossed in dialogue and study.

What is Great Art?

Art is not just the physical beauty of a subject on canvas. The subject also possesses meaning, substance, lessons and an energy that appeals to the inner man, the inner woman who gravitates to it. Does this have anything to do with Creating Great Art? It does! It has everything to do with it. In fact, it’s a part of the attractive force pulling the onlooker in. As they make a connection with the art, the artist they may yet have the words to express the attraction they have to that painting. So, far beyond a pretty picture is the intrinsic value it possesses in unspoken words, that beauty is what often attracts me to my subjects.


I create art that puts me in touch with three significant things; God, Self and Creation. Creation meaning, people and the natural world. This language may be strange to some, a turn off to others, or an inspiration to another (smiles). Nevertheless, great art begins with ‘God’ as the inspiration and “Life” as the subject. It begins with a connection and adoration of the Master of Creation and His Masterpiece the “Art of Creation.” Just look around you, everything is art on display in Life’s gallery. Great art begins with a level of understanding, appreciation and a connection with the subject we’ve chosen to highlight as visual artists. Lastly, whether its the external beauty or intrinsic value of a subject that appeals to the artist, his or her ability to visually interpret and convey this through the use of color, imagery, conceptualization and composition is a demonstration of great art. Great means remarkable or outstanding in magnitude, degree, extent, size, quantity, significance or important; it means powerful, influential, superior in quality or character; eminent; distinguished. Art is the actualization and realization of talent (A.R.T.) Everything is created and creative, this is A.R.T. Everything is art, the Supremacy and Genius of God and the talents and abilities He manifest through humanity! As an artist I find subjects to which I connect physically, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally.

Nation Of Islam Art

Image 1: 2011 Nation of Islam’s MGT and GCC engrossed in dialogue and study.


November 2010 : The motivation to embark upon the project in November 2010 was initially based on a commissioned request. That request involved lots of books and the MGT and GCC, the women of the Nation of Islam studying. Once I understood the request, intrigue and inspiration began flowing.

How I Chose Individuals for the Painting?
"Seeded Minds" Photo Shoot and Grid Overlay

Image 2: “Seeded Minds” Photo Shoot and Grid Overlay

November 2010 Setting Up and Doing A Photo Shoot For Painting “Seeded Minds:” I was sincerely committed to the creative authenticity of the subject matter, therefore, I began looking for those who emitted that authenticity; those who were true in spirit and practice. I was highly charged to say the least and began visualizing, conceptualizing and searching among the women and girls for participants. I wanted to capture the essence and unpretentious beauty and expression of sincerity in the MGT and GCC. Surrounded by books, studying in an environment of calm and comfort in an informally beautiful domestic setting was the vision. So, as I mixed and mingled among the women and girls after Mosque service I would observe faces, body language, verbal communication and energy, along with personal experience and some operable knowledge of the individuals. At this point certain ones lifted off the backdrop and stood out so vividly that an energy came over me and I knew.  I then asked and they accepted to participate in a photo shoot.


The Photoshoot:
A Variety of Photos are Used To Capture Details and Concept
MGT and GCC Painting "Seed Minds" Photo Shoot Collage

Image 3: MGT and GCC Photo Shoot Collage for Painting “Seeded Minds”

November 2010 Work In Progress: We took lots of photographs after Mosque Service that Sunday afternoon in the sanctuary of Muhammad Mosque No.29. They dramatized the study environment. I had lots photos to choose from; the photos seen in image 2 and 3: personalities, facial expressions, body language, interaction among each other and with the material on the table was perfect. In that, they captured and radiated the kind of energy that was true to the story’s concept and spirit.


Making Changes:
Extracting, Inserting, and Merging Features, Photos, and Sketches
Process and Development of Art

Image 3a. Photos for Painting ‘Seeded Minds’ Example of Image Replacement

November 2010 Work In Progress: Photo labeled image 2 captured the basic concept and details I needed. The walls were plain, but that would change. The facial expressions, heads, hands, arms and body positions I wanted to use were in another photo and not in image 2. So, what to do? Though image 2 captured the concept, I extracted one image and inserted another. I continued to do this while creating the preliminary sketches. The sketches allowed me to freely explore and layout the changes and ideas I had in mind; I also used Photoshop. When replacing an image I find it best that there are strong similarities in the replacement image so that the proportions and placement of the new image make visual sense and mesh well with the original scheme.

Here’s an example: The female in the above photograph ‘top left’ labeled IMAGE#3 has been replaced by IMAGE#3AA (bottom right).  In order to implement the right proportions and positioning of the body in the replacement IMAGE#3AA (bottom right) I also used IMAGE#3A (bottom left) because it has a strong similarity to IMAGE#3’s proportions and body positioning relative to everyone else at the table.


Sketching The Background Setting
Seeded Minds Sketches (3) WM

Image 4: “Seeded Minds” Preliminary Sketch 1 Background Setting with Mood Coloration and Grid

November 2010 Work In Progress: The sketches aimed to create a warm inviting, yet energetic and friendly atmosphere. I wanted the setting for the sisters in a beautiful home. Therefore, in this visual story sisters are in the home of an MGT for an afternoon of study and dialogue. The atmosphere is one of comfort and elegance energized by color, art and a small library. This setting is a portrayal of sisterhood and culture based on the pursuit of  knowledge and intelligence.

Seeded Minds; Sketching MGT and GCC Background Setting

Image 5: “Seeded Minds” Preliminary Sketch 2 Exploring Background Setting with Mood Coloration

Moving on, I played with several different color combinations.  A mustard yellow dominated color scheme seen above in image 4 and in image 5  turquoise with a touch of yellow, brown and white below. I settled on the dominant yellow color scheme.

Color Scheme for Painting 'Seeded Minds'

Color Scheme for Painting ‘Seeded Minds’


Constructing The Canvas:

November 2010 Construction Tools: Constructing my own canvas has become a valued aspect of the creative process for me. It’s something I like to do. Furthermore, I create large  (mural size) paintings and appreciate that freedom within my determined space. The dimensions of this painting is 62 x 72 inches, the canvas is constructed, sand, stretched and primed by me. When I construct the canvas I generally have the wood cut to my desired size. The supplies to construct the canvas entails: Four pieces of 2×2 or 1.5 x .50  unprimed or primed canvas unstretched, small saw,  manual and electric sander, L-brackets, phillip screw driver; gorilla or wood glue, canvas stretcher pliers, electric staple gun and staples, rubber mallet, paint primer.

Process and Development of Art

Image 6: Constructing My Canvas For Painting ‘Seeded Minds’

November 2010 Stretched Canvas Unprimed: Initially, I constructed the framework and primed my canvas, nevertheless, I had to remove the canvas  in order to transport it to chicago. In this case I had to purchase stretcher bars (the wooden pieces to stretch the canvas on). I couldn’t take the chance of having difficulties with construction away from home. I still ran into some problems, but worked it out.

Work In Progress Canvas for Painting 'Seeded Minds'

Image 7: Unprimed Stretched Canvas


On The Canvas:
Creating A Grid – Drawing Full Image – Painting The Art

November-December 2010 Importance of  Gridding My Canvas: To begin I create a penciled grid on my 62 x 72 inches canvas. Then I draw the entire image integrating both photos and sketches on the surface. The grid on the actual photo and on the primed canvas serves as a guide that keeps everything in perspective and in correct proportion. It ensures an accurate fit of the entire image within the work area allotted on the canvas. With a subject matter filled with so many variables and details do not take chances with freestyle drawing and layout of the subjects in the painting. I don’t wish to risk losing something special simply because I did not alot for enough space to implement it. So, I’ve come to appreciate ‘the grid.’

Shernett Muhammad ART

Image 8: Art Grid On Canvas

The Entire Image  was Drawn on the Canvas before the Painting Began
Art of the Nation of Islam

Image 9: First Step – Pencil Drawing of Concept “Seeded Minds” on Canvas

November-December 2010  Medium Used: Acrylics on Canvas – I primarily use liquitex Acrylic paints along with other brands, not for quality, but for cost and need. I like to use liquitex heavy body and soft body paints. I haven’t tried anything more costly that liquitex so I’ve not experienced the paint quality of some of the more expensive brands. I try not to be stingy with the amount of paint I apply with each brushstroke, but its always in the back of my mind. Nevertheless, that thinking is a distraction and interferes with  the flow of creative energy. So I consciously thickening the brush with paint because it allows me to apply good strong coats of acrylics to stabilized the surface with just few strokes. Even though the canvas paint primer seals the work surface depending on the paint quality, brand, softness or thickness of the paint you may be able to apply two to three good workable coats or you may need to do several coats just to get the consistency needed to create the desired texture, look or effect.

Shernett Muhammad Art - Work In Progress

Image 10: First Step – Pencil Drawing of Concept “Seeded Minds” on Canvas

The Anatomy Challenge!

December 2010 Why is Painting The Anatomy A Challenge To Me? I begin working one face at a time until I’ve captured the features. Next, my interest is the clothing, but first, I integrated background colors and details to create distinction pulling the female forms into the forefront.

Positive Challenges in Painting the Anatomy: Let me explain! When a feature or subject becomes challenging it take all of me; it consumes me. Capturing detailed realism in facial features and facial expressions requires good technique,  adequate time, patience and a certain level of mental focus. It can be difficult at times, not impossible, especially if you have sufficient time to spend on locking in those features. I will work on an area or subject for hours days weeks if necessary, as long as it takes, to reached that place of inner calm and satisfaction. This satisfaction is never determined by the amount of work I do that day, instead, it’s a sensation, an energy, a gentle soft voice within that says “Good, you’re there!”

Shernett Muhammad Art - Work In Progress

Image 11: Painting Over Pencil Drawing of Concept “Seeded Minds” on Canvas

December 2010  Negative Challenge in Painting the Anatomy: I found that there’s quite a challenge for me to paint under a stressful condition: This happens when I’m pressed for time. Anxiety then becomes my worst enemy as it interrupts my mental and creative flow, particularly, while I’m working at bringing a face to the surface. It slows and throws off my sense and ability to capture the essence and details nearly exact, especially, within the remaining time frame.  This type of stressful challenge is a killer on my creative mind. Being organized, allocating adequate time, having quantitative and quality supplies and lots of creative energy, ideas and talent are my essentials in the process of developing great art.

‘Good Technique’ involves smooth intentional brushstrokes when applying the paint. Sure some strokes are free and spontaneous and create great effects and great art. But when dealing with realism art. that style may not get the job done, at least not for me. Some application of paints may be quick and rapid hand movements or slow and methodical brushstrokes; either way, its necessary to make my brushstrokes deliberate to produce the desired result.

Nation of Islam Art and Artist Shernett Muhammad Work In Progress

Image 12: Painting Over Pencil Drawing of Concept “Seeded Minds” on Canvas

January 2011 Light and Dark Pigments Creating Shades and Shadows: At this point my focus is on the garments. The shading of light and dark pigments to create shadows and highlights gives the illusion of satin white fabric; shades of grays, hues of light blues and very light touches of cream. Depending on the deflection of light on the colors in the room the white satin reflects hues of light cream on raised folds in the clothing and generates shadows and shades of strong and soft bluish-grays adding depth and realism to the dresses. The sister on the left is wearing white satin brocade (shown in image 2) just below.  Before I add the lacy-like brocade patterns to the dress I painted the base color with textures, shadows and highlights creating folds and ruffles to create an illusion of the natural flow of the dress as shown just below in image 2 (the actual photo).

Nation of Islam Art and Artist Shernett Muhammad Work In Progress

Image 13: Painting 80% Overlay of Pencil Drawing – “Seeded Minds”

"Seeded Minds" Photo Shoot and Grid Overlay

Image 2 “Seeded Minds” Photo Shoot and Grid Overlay

January 2011 Adding Layers Creating Textures and Patterns: Once the firs layer, the natural flow of the fabric and dress is established now it makes sense to apply what I call the second layer, that is, the lacy-like brocade patterns. While applying the lacy patterns I follow the lay, flow and texture of the surface or first layer, the dress; The first layer is the light and dark contrasts, which I’ve done in order to effectively integrated the brocade patterns. Otherwise, I can undo the extensive work I’ve already done if I’m careless in my attempt to paint the patterns or textures into the dress.

Nation of Islam Art and Artist Shernett Muhammad Painting 'Seeded Minds'

Image 14: Unstretched Painting Mounted on Wall “Seeded Minds” Work In Progress

February 2011 Working On Final Layers of the Painting: Moving forward, I live in tropical sunny South Florida, nevertheless, it’s Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 I’m in the windy and fridge Rosemont, Illinois for an annual convention. I unstretched my canvas, roll it, package it and brought it along with my paint supplies. I’m sleep deprived as a result of working on the painting through the night into the morning of the flight. The painting is to be delivered and in place at 6:30AM Saturday morning and will be unveiled shortly thereafter.  The painting mounted against the wall is 95% completed.

Nation of Islam Art and Artist Shernett Muhammad Painting 'Seeded Minds'

Image 15: Unstretched Painting Mounted on Wall “Seeded Minds” Work In Progress

February 2011 Working On Final Layers of the Painting: Crowne Plaza Hotel Room, it’s about 1:OOAM Saturday morning, Feb. 26, 2011, its the big day. Not much time to spare, the Painting ‘Seeded Minds’ is still hanging on the wall unstretched; you can see the raw unfinished edges above. I’m working on the face and clothing of the female – far right. Nevertheless, to add the final touches I will have to leave the room find a secluded location in the hotel where I will disturb no one with my stapling, hammering and movements.

Shernett Muhammad - Work in Progress - "Seeded Minds"

Image 16: Stretching Painting on Frame in Lower Level Hallway of Crowne Plaza Hotel

February 2011 Working On Final Layers of the Painting: Painting ‘Seeded Minds’ 97% completed. Saturday, Feb. 26, it’s 2AM I had to leave the hotel room others were sleeping; my electric staple gun is extremely loud, besides I needed space to stretch the canvas on the frame. Found a remote place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel lower level hallway where I worked undisturbed until 5:00AM.

Nation of Islam Art and Artist Shernett Muhammad Working on Painting

Image 17: Just Stretched Painting on Frame in Hallway of Crowne Plaza Hotel

February 26 It’s 3AM I’m pressed for time and working feverishly against the clock. I must be finished by 5AM no time to spare. The painting is 97% completed; I’ve just stretched the canvas onto the stretcher bars. I am now painting the front edges, corners and sides to give it a clean finished look. The metallic gold fabric on the floor will be the covering used to unveil the painting to a room filled with hundreds of women in about two hours. Exciting!

Nation of Islam Art and Artist Shernett Muhammad Working to Complete Painting

Image 18: Just Stretched Painting on Frame in Hallway of Crowne Plaza Hotel

February 26, 2011, 5:00AM: Completion and Unveiling of  the Painting “Seeded Mind Year of the Farm:” to learn more about the title, meaning and details of my experience in creating this great work of art click on the link: One-on-one with Nation of Islam painter Sister Shernett Muhammad:”We are the best, so we have to put out the best” Blog by Brother Jesse Muhammad.

Nation Of Islam Art and Artist Shernett Muhammad Painting 'Seeded Minds'

Image 19: February 26, 2011 Completion Date of  Painting “Seeded Mind Year of the Farm”

Thank you for embarking upon this visual journey with me! Until next time, Allah (God) Willing!

Painting “Seeded Minds” Year of the Farm”
On Display At The Salaam Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois
Art by Shernett Muhammad

Image 20: Minister Farrakhan Speaks to Guest at Salaam Restaurant about the Books in the Painting.

Art of the Nation of Islam: Painting "Seeded Minds"

Image 21: Minister Louis Farrakhan Speaks About The Painting to His Guest While Touring ‘The Salaam Restaurant’ in Chicago, Illinois

Nation of Islam Art "Seeded Minds"

Image 22: Beautiful Couple Poses Before Painting at the Salaam Restaurant