Thursday, April 24, 2014

April: The Cruel, Crazy, but Beautiful Month

“Spring Beauty”     6” x 6”     Pastel   $40.00    © Sharon Lewis

            T.S. Elliot had it right when he said that April is the cruelest month. If you work as a professor and the university’s academic year ends in early May, April is the month when both faculty and students are going crazy with work and little sleep. It’s a time of year when your life as you used to know it seems a distant memory. It’s also a time when I make sure that I pay attention to the small but beautiful things in life. 
            As I drive to my office early in the morning I notice the stunning sunrise and how the light hits the beautiful blooming trees just perfectly.  Or as I leave my office 12 hours later, I might notice the gorgeous colors in the sky as the light slowly fades. As I’m grading mountains of papers, I take breaks to listen to the happy chirping and singing of birds outside my window. Or because I’m so fortunate to have such wonderful students, I read carefully, the beautifully written and very moving note of gratitude I received from a student of mine that will be recognized tonight for outstanding leadership. Yes, it might be a cruel and crazy month but it’s also beautiful if only I pay attention.

            Today’s painting is from photos I took early one spring morning in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Time of Light and New Beginnings

“New Life”     2.5” x 3.5”    Pastel   $25      © Sharon Lewis

            Mother Nature sure seems to love messing with us lately. Just when we settle into the idea that spring is really here to stay, since the beautiful blooming trees and flowers seem to attest to this, it get’s cold again.
            Oh well, no matter what the weather, Easter finally occurs this weekend (and it’s the middle of Passover). It’s interesting to me that the two holidays seem to center on hope, remembrance, and renewal of faith, and both occur in early spring. Upon conducting some online research, I found out that “Easter” comes from the name for a pagan goddess, Eostre (Old English) or Ostara (Old High German), who derived her name from a Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn.  Somehow, this association with light, new beginnings, renewal and spring, makes this a particularly joyful holiday for me. Although I’m not religious I think holiday rituals are wonderful when they allow us to transcend the ordinary patterns of our lives. They can help us reflect on what we hold sacred, what we believe, and maybe all of those things and people in our lives for which we are grateful.
            Today’s painting is based on photos taken near the Mount Washington area in New Hampshire. We were hiking through the woods and along a stream when I found unexpected beauty poking up from amongst the weeds along a path; new life in the form of these beautiful daisies.          
           Happy Easter, Chag Sameach, Happy Spring and Happy Weekend to all!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Into the Distance

"Into the Distance"       8” x 10”    Pastel      $75    © Sharon Lewis
Click Here to Purchase 

            It was a beautiful, sunny and breezy, spring day in Palm Coast, Florida, a city on the east coast, south of Jacksonville. We had gone for a long walk on the beach and seen some really funny looking birds that looked like they had bad mullet hair cuts (are there good mullets?). I looked them up in my bird book and discovered they were not gulls as I originally thought but sandwich terns. There were also some really cute smaller birds with skinny legs that I think are snowy plovers. That day I was also lucky to catch a beautiful setting sun behind me reflecting on the clouds in front of me. This painting shows the reflected light on the clouds and the flight of two terns with bad hair cuts heading into the distance.

            Happy Weekend!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Changing Reality: Along the Water’s Edge

“Along the Water’s Edge“        5” x 7”     Pastel       $50       © Sharon Lewis
Click Here to Purchase

            Today’s painting is a slightly different version of a scene I have painted before, on a very different surface.  The painting is based on a photo I took from a moving car…. not usually the best photo to use as a reference. However sometimes, it forces you to use more of your creative skills because you have no choice. In this case, I was working from a pretty boring, blurry photo of an almost all green scene. So, I added orange, pink, and blues to the painting to spice it up a bit.
            When you take photos under these circumstances, you also don’t have time to compose it attractively either, so once again, I needed to think creatively how I might re-design this scene to be a little more interesting.  The first time I painted this scene I did a close-up of the trees. In this one I decided to add a path leading you to the trees and water. I want the viewer to maybe imagine having a picnic along the water’s edge in the shade of one of these trees. 
            Enjoy and Happy Weekend!