Sharon Gordon’s landscapes are inspired by the elements. Her bold colors and lush strokes evoke a dreamy vision through a blurred lens. Below, she describes her process, inspiration, and what being an artist means to her.
KA: Why art? What was your first experience with art and when did you realize you wanted to become an artist?
SG: I have been an artist as far back as I can remember. My early childhood memories include a gigantic bucket filled to the top with crayons and I spent endless hours coloring. However, I remember hating coloring books as a child. The idea that someone provided the outline and I had to stay in the lines was appalling!
I don’t feel like I have really had a choice as to whether I would become an “artist” as much as that I just “was.” Educationally, I began as a graphic design major. After a semester in Italy and the impact of all of the rich art and architectural offerings, I realized that painting was my purpose. Despite periods throughout my professional history as a painter when, with clenched teeth and much angst I questioned the path I had taken, I am and always will consider myself artist.
KA: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
SG: If I weren’t an artist I would be a chef, sommelier or maybe a pyro technician. All things food has become a true passion and artistic endeavor for me. I truly love the art of making a phenomenal dining experience. I enjoy every detail from food planning, wine pairing, preparation and all that makes a table presentation memorable. The art of wine making and tasting is fascinating. Of course, creating giant paintings in the sky with explosions of color is an exciting and intriguing thought. I guess if I weren’t an artist, I would still be an artist.
KA: What landscapes and places particularly inspire you?
SG: I am and have always been completely captivated by places near or surrounded by water, especially the ocean. Experiencing a vista, particularly involving bodies of water, enhances the idea that an atmosphere can be an ever-changing, never-ending range of rhythm and volatility while remaining consistently whole. The view imposes a presence, a meter, balancing human scale and condition as a piece of a larger perspective. I also spend considerable time watching the sky with the same idea in mind. I take daily walks along the country roads where I live. Having an opportunity to watch as the farmland and surrounding vistas change in terms of color and light with the passing of each season is also a tremendous influence in my current work.
KA: Describe your art-making process from start to finish.
SG: I am referred to as a “Serial Artist.” I start with a number of primed painting surfaces, usually a specific size and material (canvas, acid free board) and a notion of color palette. From there it is really about the paint. I rarely begin with a certain idea of where the body of work will end up. I often feel as though the work already exists within the surface and it is my job to bring it forward. I primarily work in oil, cold wax and encaustics. Although through the years (particularly early on in my career) I used a lot of acrylic paint as well. My intention is to evoke an “internal landscape,” a chance to capture and transport the viewer into a segment of a larger vista that may be seemingly ambiguous, yet familiar. The paintings provide an opportunity to wander through passages exploring one’s whereabouts, recalling moments of time and space that may have been visited before.
KA: What do you do when you’re not working on your art?
SG: Aside from the time I practice as a therapist and coach, I enjoy time gardening, antiquing and lots of cooking and entertaining. My husband and I love spending time at home with our pack of four little dogs. We have three mini dachshunds and a peekapoo…needless to say it can be like a mini circus at times. Watching the dachshunds interact could be the next big reality TV experience!
KA: Which artists are you influenced by?
SG: I think this is a hard question to answer in a concise way. In terms of visual art, my taste is rather broad. I am a big fan of Turner and think he has been an influence, although not consciously intentional. I love Rothko, Hudson River School paintings and the Luminist Movement as well. However, my work has always been significantly impacted by the music I listen to while painting. I have occasionally created an entire series around a single song (My “Northwest Passage” series came from influence by a Canadian folk musician Stan Roger’s, sea chanty of the same name). This tendency becomes somewhat tiresome for anyone else in the studio area, as I often play a song repeatedly. I love a variety of musical genres and can trace most of my work back to particular music that played during the series I was painting.
KA: If your art could be shown anywhere around the world, where would it be and why?
SG: Another tough question. Early on, and maybe now and again the idea of a big exhibition held in a major museum or gallery in New York, LA, Chicago, Italy or France seems enticing. However, as I have matured and developed artistically, I have come to realize that showing work is at its best when I am able to evoke something in someone else and fame does not really enter into the equation. I am really happy showing work wherever it reaches an audience that will appreciate what I offer as a painter.
Sharon Gordon is an artist in the Central New York Area. To see more of her work, check out her website, here.