Sharon Grimes: Inside the Artist’s Studio

It’s Time We Stop. Hey, What’s That Sound? Sharon Grimes

By Derrick White

“My inner life has changed the most. Painting has been and still is a form of meditation for me. I am more in the present moment when I am working than at any other time. It arouses my curiosity and my intellect. It calms me and frustrates me. I can be so frustrated with a painting I can hardly stand it. I must remind myself time and time again the greatest anxiety and frustration gives birth to a breakthrough of some kind, every time. It is not easy to roll with. Rushing through or trying to force it never works well. I must wait for it and it is not easy,” states regional artist Sharon Grimes.

Sharon is a self-taught artist, born and raised in East Texas. She became a hairstylist at age of eighteen. She enjoyed this career for over two decades but in her driven nature, she worked very long hours with a perfectionist’s attentiveness to her clients. She finally decided she had burnout. She remembers, “I knew I had to find something to do just for the sheer joy of it. I had always been creative, so it was an easy decision to revisit doing something artistic. For me, this was drawing. I started working in charcoal and pencil, taking a pad with me wherever I went. Afterwards, I added watercolor. As the years went by, I began reducing the hours behind the chair, as I could afford to. I slowly added different mediums and surfaces, spending hours mastering what I could. I started taking classes when I heard of something interesting. I was able to retire and start my second career in painting.”

Sharon’s artwork ranges from representational to non-representational with ephemeral atmospheres sometimes containing bold and dynamic burst of colors. There is a dreamlike quality to the way she applies the materials and presents her imagery. Her pieces are also very tactile, embracing both visual and actual textures. The artist explains, “I use different media. I spent a few years with oil and then decided to try acrylic. I consider myself most proficient with acrylic. It is a wonderful medium and can be used many ways. The possibilities are endless. The only drawback is it dries so fast. I have started using more oil. My work has evolved into a more abstract style.” 

Sharon states, “Anyone who is familiar with my work will not be surprised that J.M.W. Turner (English, Romantic painter, known for his expressive colors, imaginative, and turbulent compositions) is my inspiration and favorite artist living or dead. One year I took a class from a professor at the San Francisco School of Art. He said we should all know where our ancestors came from and what artists were also from that area. I did a search and it so happened my ancestors were English, as was Turner.” Another influence on Sharon’s work is travel. She remembers, “One of the pivotal points in my life as it pertains to art, was my 21st birthday. My sister and brother-in-law were in the military and lived in Germany. As a birthday gift, she paid for me to go visit them. I was joined by a small group of girlfriends and we traveled as much as we could afford. We went to museums in several countries and it had a startling impact on me. I had never been exposed to anywhere near that caliber of work. The art combined with the whole experience of living in a foreign country changed me. I had spent very little time outside of East Texas. Experiencing a completely different culture was shocking and I loved it. I ended up staying for almost a year.”

As far as the global pandemic, this artist is doing her best to deal with the circumstances like the rest of us. She explains, “COVID-19 has made exhibitions impossible and I cannot wait to start again. I have a gallery space at The Lab on Center, at 420 Center Street in Longview. The concept of a shared workspace was conceived by the owner of the building, Bridget Stiles. We have small retail spaces, a hairdresser, esthetician, and florist. There is a podcast studio and full kitchen as well as office space where we can meet with clients. I recently started collaborating with Julia Ross to represent me at Sky Pony Gallery at Willow Bend Mall. I have wanted to have representation in the Dallas area and Julia has several avenues for that to happen. I have a body of work in France with Day2Day Gallery that will be exhibited at Gallery Art Nou Mil-lenni in Barcelona, Spain for 6 months. We are ready to hang the show as soon as we get the go-ahead. COVID-19 has delayed everything there, also. I am also part of AlexArt International Gallery in Sarasota, Florida. The month I was supposed to have an opening there was the same month COVID-19 hit, so I had to cancel the trip. I am hopeful I can do it sometime in 2021.” 

During these challenging times it is important to remember artists and local business owners need our help and support. Grimes advises, “The question I am most asked by other artists is “How do I sell my work”? I was lucky I had a business background, so marketing comes easy for me. I do not particularly enjoy it, but it is necessary. After all these years, I have finally hired someone to help with things like my website, Google Ads, etc. I still handle my social media. I caution artists to always paint according to their intuition, though. Our primary responsibility is to our process. We must be able to respond to what is happening on the canvas, according to our deepest intuition. We must learn to trust ourselves and have confidence. This cannot happen if you are worried about selling. You can worry about selling when it is finished.”

When Sharon is not in her studio working, she is usually spending time at home in Longview with her husband of thirty-plus years, Merle, and their animal children, two standard poodles and a Russian blue cat. They enjoy hiking and getting away to spend time in the mountains around Santa Fe, New Mexico. For what it’s worth.

For information check out Sharon’s website:

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