I have been drawing people since I could hold a crayon. The human presence is a constant in my work. Often beginning with old snapshots, candid photos of family and strangers, I try to capture slices of time, evocative moments. I am fascinated by what home photographers inadvertently catch: images that are casual and non-reverential, the subjects captured without their masks on, the scene not lit or staged. The results are situations, faces and places that resonate with viewers, reminding them of the life they really led instead of the stories they created about their pasts.
Perhaps my interests in family images and portraits of people in unguarded moments come from growing up with a father, a grandfather and a brother who were psychiatrists. Perhaps my desire to draw and paint was formed by a mother and her three sisters, all of whom were artists and enthusiastically encouraged me. In any case, I grew up surrounded by art, artists, and lively conversations about people. After college, art took a backseat to other career and family demands, but at the age of 40, I returned to drawing and painting full time. I haven’t looked back since.
My preferred media are oil paint and watercolor. I am still using a German paint box of 36 colors that I bought in 1959 on a family vacation. I am indebted to a small but mighty magnifying glass that enables me to discern details in tiny faded black and white photographs. I may adopt the images in their entirety, but I often edit for better composition and a less distracting background. Colors are all my choice. Whether I am painting oil on canvas or watercolor on paper, I start by carefully drawing in charcoal or pencil. Then I fill in with layers of paint ending with the details. Sometimes I have used an acrylic under painting with oil washes on top, so that colors glow from beneath the surface. I paint every day and it still thrills and satisfies me.
Paintings of children, friends, family, and strangers
Sharon’s portraits are inspired by photos; posed and candid.
Paintings of interior living spaces
The theme of interiority and the settings in which Sharon and others live out their private lives inspires this series.
Paintings of fields, beaches, cityscapes, and other exterior spaces
Landscapes are often empty of faces, but reflective of the human presence.