Archive for sharon pierce mccullough

Staying Creative in 2020

Abstract paintings by Sharon Pierce McCullough

On all fronts, 2020 continues to be an unprecedented year. It is also difficult to maintain a creative outlook during this time. Personally, I have been extremely distracted and have to make myself stay focused, to a degree, that is. My sculpture practice started out with a nice thrust, however, as the days have lingered on, I find my focus is further from sculpture than it is with painting.

Painting, especially since I work in abstracts, has been easier for me to work at on most days. I seem to be churning out paintings, primarily on unstretched canvases. And my desire to continually experiment with techniques, color and process have increased at this time. I seem to have started a few new series, however.

One of the most difficult things about staying creative during this pandemic is the fact that all the art fairs, galleries and other art opportunities have fallen by the wayside for now. Many exhibitions have been cancelled and some are now being rescheduled, but time will tell if this continues. So, without the ability to sell, other than online, it is discouraging to many artists. It is certainly a time of possibility to reinvent yourself and your art direction, but much is so up in the air.

But … I am hopeful and I am happy that I can continue to stay creative. 2020 feels like a bust but it might be a blessing in disguise as far as creativity goes!

Large Canvas Paintings

Since November 2019, I have started working on a new series of large paintings on canvas. Although it can present a challenge, it is a very freeing experience. It’s hard to go back to small but the expense and room needed to continue to create large format canvases can make it difficult. But I am a big believer of the old adage “Go Big or Go Home!” It’s that time in my life to pursue big!

These large abstract paintings are still colorful but I have added a twist of random, gestural lines rather than my intuitive line work. Titled my Constellation series, these paintings feature fun, yet whimsical images that I define constellations one might find in the galaxy. It’s a surreal representation of reality.

Art Exhibitions

Concrete sculpture

Almost every month my paintings and sculpture work goes on exhibit in a new art venue. As an artist, I am constantly searching for new exhibition opportunities. It is part of what being an artist entails, especially if you are trying to achieve even a glimmer of exposure and recognition. You have to pay your dues.

While most of my time is spent designing and creating my art, time is also spent delivering artwork to galleries for exhibitions and then often retrieving pieces that haven’t sold.

In August 2019, one of the exhibitions that I was invited to participate in was a Sculpture Walk in Blowing Rock, NC. Although this is quite an endeavor to transport large sculptures to exhibit outdoors, it is an opportunity to meet possible new collectors. It was a beautiful setting and quite a well organized event.

Lyrical Abstract Paintings

Lyrical abstract paintings

Abstract Paintings

Sometimes it is difficult to put one’s paintings into a category.  Although my work can be defined as abstract, it can also be defined as intuitive.  Intuitive,  meaning that there is no plan when I start the painting process.  I just dip my brush and go.  But there is another defining feature about my paintings and that is the free-flowing lines with a palette of happy colors.  These can be termed lyrical abstracts.

Lyrical Abstraction Paintings

Lyrical abstracts share the aspects of being imaginative, emotive, expressive, passionate and subjective.  There is often an underlying emotion that the artist is trying to convey.  In my respect, the paintings can overwhelmingly impart a sense of joy and happiness.  One of the earliest well-known artists to be considered to paint lyrical abstracts is Wassily Kandinsky.  There is almost a romantic feel to many lyrical abstracts.

Even though I am painting in an intuitive manner, it is almost like there is a symphony taking place, as one color takes over the composition from the other.  It is a totally enjoyable process and the results are very rewarding.  I believe my hand is very influenced by the fact that I have always been a very positive and happy person.  I also believe that my style is influenced, somewhat, by the fact that my father was a musician and an orchestra leader.  My paintings often remind me of musical compositions.

Creating Found Object Sculptures

industrial found objects

Found Object Sculptures

If you have been following along with my art career, you have certainly noticed that my path of creating art branches out in many directions.  Although my focus remains on both paintings and sculpture, my sculptures vary according to my choice of materials.

Since I have always had an interest in finding unusual items that might work well when worked into a sculpture, one of my main series of sculptures are made from found objects.  Most of the pieces I am drawn to are old metal, often auto parts or other industrial castoffs.  I’m a known junkyard junkie who will never turn down a trip to a junkyard or other similar place to find castoff items.  You just never know what unique part will be waiting right around the next corner or on the next trip in search of pieces for sculptures.

Creating Found Object Sculptures

It often takes years to find the right, compatible objects to make the sculpture that speaks to me.  I’m not interested in making “cute” critters but real art objects.  Many trips to the outdoor studio and lots of trial with items, along with many days thinking about the design, finally helps a sculpture come to life.  Sometimes some of the found objects just seem meant for each other in a short period of time.  But many times, pieces are partly paired together, waiting on my workbench until the last few pieces are “found’.

It’s a totally different thought process and working process from sculptures made from cement or plaster.  But once a sculpture comes together, it is like a birth of sorts.

Since I am not currently a welder, I often make cement bases with metal/ rebar extending from them to attach the sculpture.  I then, usually, wire and epoxy pieces firmly together.

 

Intuitive Abstract Paintings on Canvas

The-Good-Life

One of my newest bodies of art work combines both a playful look with bright colors, black and white.  These are Intuitive Abstract paintings done on canvas and some created on heavy bristol board, a type of archival artist’s paper.  I refer to this type of work as intuitive because I start each painting without any pre-conceived idea of what I will paint.  It is actually fun to watch a painting unfold before you … much to my surprise.  Obviously, decisions to have to be made once you start, deciding what color to put where and what spaces to leave white, etc.

I start by drawing random lines and shapes until I am happy with the overall composition.  Sometimes, I will add extra elements as I go along.

Some of these pieces can be seen and purchased through Saatchi.