Fascinated with European art history and painting, Sallie Mc Ilheran came to Vienna, Austria after finishing her college degree at Sweet Briar College, Virginia. She applied for the entrance examinations and was accepted to the University of Vienna where she spent five years, until she earned her Masters of Fine Art, for painting and graphic art. She was able to study in the Master Class of Prof. Wolfgang Hutter, one of the leading members of the Austrian School of Fantastic Realism.

During these years in Vienna, she learned various techniques of painting. The most important one for her, the "Alt-Meister Technik", using a gradual buildup of white egg tempera, underpainting and layers of oil, has influenced her style of painting. Precision of line and detail as well as consideration of color are of fundamental importance.

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