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Sharon Marie Winter Seasonal Dreamscapes

December 6, 2021

Sharon Marie Winter is an artist with an eye for the calm and considered values of day to day life. I see her work as a journey that dips a painterly toe with Chagall, Beryl Cook and a dream time, where one can feel both safe and calm amongst a sea of nature inspired landscapes. I wanted to discover more about Sharon’s imaginary world and how her serene paintings naturally evolve.

Where does a painting start for you, in your mind, a sketchbook or when your brush touches the canvass ?

I found this question surprisingly difficult to answer because my working process doesn’t really go in a straight line.I’m working on relatively small paintings at the moment, roughly 12cms to 40cms, and my preferred ground is paper stretched on board and then primed with a chalky white gesso. I like to prepare and work on half a dozen at once , I rotate them so I’ll work on one painting for no longer than a couple of hours at a time. At the same time I have lots of ideas that I’ve scribbled down, sketched or even written about in my sketchbooks and I have a vague inkling of what I want each piece to be about. I usually (but not always) draw it out first on the prepared ground,  however other times, especially if I’m working at a larger scale, I cover the ground with random colours first and then draw in the images.

How much planning goes into each piece beforehand and do some take much longer than others ?

If my previous answer seems to suggest it’s all meticulously planned its very far from the truth! I usually have no definite plan for the painting, as I work I paint over areas, change the composition; the colours; the faces or the figures.  I will apply collage from old book pages; music manuscript; and gold leaf then paint over them and rub them back with sandpaper to expose glimpses of previous layers. This implies a narrative whilst not specific is suggestive in a symbolic dreamlike way.  I like to let myself be guided by the painting itself as I work all the time aiming for a particular feeling . I think a quote by Henri matisse sums up my aim ” What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue”.  I don’t consider a painting finished until I feel that I’ve acheived this goal so the time it takes varies from a few days to several months. Knowing when to stop and having the self discipline to leave it alone can be a problem, overworking has seen a few paintings consigned to the bin after many hours of work.

Do you sketch from dreams, imagination or is there a touch or real life in there too ?

Yes to all of the above! When I’m engrossed in a painting or sketching I think about stories I’ve read; poems; and memories ,and  I let mysef get carried away with daydreams. My sketchbooks are very important to me, it’s where I allow my ideas to flow. All the images come from my imagination, I rarely work from life. I did lots of life drawing many years ago when I was at university but it’s not the ‘real’ world I’m trying to represent.

When do you decide if it’s a winter / autumnal / summery scene or does the paint colours dictate where a painting may go in it’s direction ? Does each artwork have a clear direction before you begin or do you like the painting (as well as the viewer) to each have a journey in it’s making ?

I usually have an idea of the season I want to portray and I have to say that I’m heavily biased towards autumn and winter!If I’m honest I don’t like sunny blue skies, the perfect summer day for me is one with dark brooding skies and the promise of thunderstorms. There is a feeling of cosiness that I remember from childhood. I  lived with my grandparents when I was young and I have memories of sitting around a coal fire on a dusky winters day listening to stories and memories of their past. The colours that evoke this feeling for me are rich reds; warm blues such as ultramarine and gold- I love the way candlelight iluminates the gold in dim light.

Are some of the figures in your work You, or perhaps a character of your imagination ?

This is the question I’m most often asked! They certainly don’t look like me, I try very hard not to make them look like anyone in particular and I find this the most difficult of tasks. In terms of symbolism though I suppose they do represent an aspect of me, my presence in the painting and my part in the narrative. I like to think also that the viewer can bring their own interpretation to it and maybe identify with the characters and the suggested narrative. 

Wonderful to see a snippet of Marie’s sketchbooks and a feeling for how her paintings develop.

I feel that your work is rooted in a deeply female perspective, with mostly solitary figures carrying out day to day tasks like posting letters, reading books or making tea but usually with a view on nature in each painting too. Do you imagine the Owls, birds, rabbits or Mother Nature herself, act like guardians or companions for these single figures ?

I paint from the position in life I have as a woman; mother; wife; daughter;carer and friend. Like everyone I have a particular history,memories and experiences which are unique to me. As an only child I spent a lot of time alone imagining; reading and drawing. These are the things that have shaped me and I bring them all to my art. I love the idea that the creatures I paint are friends, guardians even angels that bring protection, messages and companionship.

I see comparisons to the work of Chagall in your work. Is there an intention for your work to often feel a little floaty and ‘dream like’ ?

I have a long list of artists who I admire and yes Marc Chagall is near the top of that list! I love the way the motifs and figures are freed from the constraints of gravity existing in a space between real life and a magical dream world. I absolutely want my work to evoke this sense of otherworldliness.

Where do you see your paintings going in the future ? Are there new ideas you want to address and acomplish through your art ?

This may sound boring but I’m quite content to carry on doing my work as I do now everyday in my studio. I never get bored or feel uninspired because I always have new ideas to explore. Over time my work has evolved and changed gradually and it propably will continue to do so, I’m therefore not afraid of standing still.  However, for many years I have had the ambition to make, write and illustrate a book of fairy tales, I’ve worked on it on and off but never seem to have enough time to devote to it properly, who knows maybe I’ll get to complete it one day before my time is up!

I look forward to seeing that Marie, let’s hope you find the time to make it happen. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today, I loved discovering more about your thought processes and your inspiring work. You can find Marie’s greeting cards here and more of her artwork here on Pinterest.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Giuliana Piovan permalink
    May 17, 2022 4:15 pm

    Splendida artista💝😍🎐

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