May 2011 – Uplifting the Human Spirit

Last week I attended a lecture given by the instructor of my weekly art class, Sharon Wilson. The lecture was entitled “Uplifting the Human Spirit”.

The lecture formed part of the Historical Heartbeats Lecture Series organized annually by the Bermuda Government’s  Department of Community and Cultural Affairs. Wilson’s lecture did exactly as the title suggested and more!

Ms. Wilson stated that as an artist, she aims togive feeling a  face“. Immediately, that struck a chord with me. Just a weeks ago  I read an article about the importance of the message and how an artist should paint not only what he sees before him, but what he sees within him.

When discussing the development of each piece, and the ideas that come to light, Wilson noted that the model, setting and time play a high significance. She understands that art is a form of language, a form of communication from which a visual dialogue begins.” Wilson explained that though we may all look at the same picture, “we each bring our own story and experiences, our own interpretations that from there, make it personal“.

For this reason, Wilson doesn’t really dabble much in landscape painting, but rather scenarios and the stories of people. Wilson noted that as artist we can’t paint everyone and everything, so when you do paint, make it count. Much of her work focuses on children and their real life issues. Even at a young age, children have many significant ordeals pertaining to acceptance, value, how they carry themselves and find a place in the world, etc.

Wilson went on to further explain that it’s not about finding artwork to match the drapes. It’s greater than that, their is a story infused in the painting. When an artist is able to truly connect with their audience, then it becomes more than a picture. The artwork becomes inspiring, and the viewer is not worried about whether or not they can afford it because they can’t afford not to have it…  for them, the painting has a greater VALUE.

As an example, Wilson mentioned an art viewer who was captivated by a piece she had done of a little boy entitled “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” (See below). When one gentleman looked at it, he immediately fell in love with the picture. The boy reminded him of his 13 year old son, who had already joined a gang. Despite the father’s efforts, he had not been able to get his son back on the right track. He had essentially lost him. However looking at the artwork, reminded him of what and who his son use to be, and the hopeful expression  of the little boy assured him that it’s never too late, and one day he’d get his son back. That is the power of imagery.

     © 2010 Sharon Wilson
Medium: encaustic
Size: 11 x 14 inches

Wilson’s discussion was in itself uplifting and surely it’s inspiring to witness an artist using her passion and gift for a purpose greater than themselves, finding the true power of imagery. I can’t help but admire such a wonderful artist and at the same time, be grateful for the opportunities offered by her as a person and her work.

Sharon Wilson: