Born in Santa Monica, California in 1953, Sydney has called Florida her home since age 11. She began her painting career in the Sarasota area in the mid- eighties as a mostly self-taught watercolor artist and gained quick success, winning awards and exhibiting in Sarasota Art Galleries.
Sydney was chosen as the poster artist for the Anna Maria Festival of Fine Arts in 1989, and has been featured on the cover of numerous magazines, including “Florida Living Magazine” July, 1992 issue.
After obtaining a degree in Visual Arts from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and making the switch to oil painting in 1996, she attended a semester of graduate studies in fine art at Cortona, Italy through the University of Georgia. Sydney then returned to the United States, where she relocated to St. Augustine and operated the Sydney McKenna Gallery from 1997 to 2013. She sees St. Augustine as the perfect combination of her two favorite locales: European architecture combined with the lush Florida environment