Thursday, February 11, 2016

SHARON SEGAL: Lifelong Artist and Educator

This is the first in our new series of articles about ORA artists.
Tune in regularly to learn about our uniquely talented artists!

One of two studio spaces in Sharon’s home

by Abby Cohen
Sharon studied Art history, Studio art and Elementary education at UCLA. In her profession as a teacher, Sharon always included art in her lessons. 

Sharon uses many media, and enjoys painting, sculpture and drawing. She is more interested in self-expression than in any particular technique. 

Why art? “I don't know. It's just something that I do, it's a passion that I have. I'm a visual person and a visual learner. It makes me feel good to see something that is "me". And once it is done, I can't even believe I did it; I don't even know where it came from or remember the process. Some higher force made me do it. One of my teachers once said, ‘First you work with your heart and then, you work with your mind.’ I think that is true for me.”

I asked Sharon about her process and inspirations. She said, “I start with an idea; usually it’s the subject matter, rather than a color, or form, medium, or material. So I often start with a concept, and then I get a ideas about how best to do it. I take a lot of classes and workshops whenever I can. Sometimes my inspiration is from a class I took, something I’ve just learned, and I get excited about that.” 

Sharon said that she does not have a particular linear process, or one way of thinking about making art. "I think all different ways." Sharon likes to maintain a looseness in her work and does not create tightly controlled pieces. She loves the feeling when starting a new piece, enjoying likes the freedom that comes before decisions have to be made. Her favorite moment however comes when she looks at her work afterwards and says, “I did that!.”   

Sharon used to paint in oils, but the fumes and long waiting time for the paint to dry inspired her to switch to acrylics. Sharon loves color, but is also drawn to color, and lately has been doing more pieces in black and white. She enjoys working in 2D and 3D equally well. Finding new materials is very exciting for Sharon; lately she has been adding drywall compound to her paintings, and another new tool is a Gelli printing plate, which allows one to print without a printing press. 
Some of Sharon’s recent explorations in clay. 

Sharon takes an intuitive approach to much of her work, and loves to stand back and say, “Wow, I like this!”

Is there any part of the process that she doesn't like? “When it feels like it’s not working.. You have to get in my head and know what I'm trying to say. I just want to express what I want to express but sometimes it's hard to do that. Sometimes something in the elements will bother me: wrong size element, wrong color. I like when people's work pops and I wonder how to make my work pop. I take classes a lot. I want to learn more about how to make color pop. I used to do all bright, but I realize now you do a little bright, and if you do all neutral colors and a little bright, it can be more effective.” 

Sharon aspires to take a break from painting and devote some serious time to working with clay. She has begun to make clay vessels, and wants to delve more deeply into that medium.

The most inspiring places for Sharon are the ocean, the beach, and also just walking around her neighborhood. She looks at everything, and finds inspiration in her backyard, in ginkgo leaves and other everyday elements of her surroundings. She has taken inspiration from the life cycle of a camellia, and flowers growing between gravestones in a cemetery. 

Judaism sometimes influences Sharon’s  work through embellishment. Being with ORA and Jewish singing groups, and other connections with the Jewish community have informed several series of works. “If we have an art project, such as (one we did about) Miriam, I do research, ,and it has helped me delve into Judaism.” 
Painting inspired by Tu B’Shevat
Sharon’s energy is irrepressible. She said she is “hard to pin down; I’m all over the place. I never get everything done. I like reading, exercise, meditation, painting. I don't make a schedule. I let my day flow.”

1 comment :

Leslie Elder said...

Love the tree paintings...nice texture!