This Too is Bermuda
The Tender Paintings of Sharon Wilson
When I first saw Sharon Wilson's oil painting "Two in the Shade" I felt not only Bermuda warmth, but human warmth. The painting depicts a little boy resting in the shade atop his father. In this simple scene Sharon Wilson makes palpable the trusting love of father and son. The painting is typical of the affectionate portraits of this artist. A native of Bermuda, Sharon Wilson calls herself a storyteller. She portrays the common man and woman of her country for as she explains I paint the people who are the heartbeat of the island -- people that the tourists don't often see.
Sharon Wilson is determined to show the "real" Bermuda, even if that means depicting the stress, anxiety, even anger of ordinary people. She wants the viewers to really see the people by suspending their craving for Bermuda's lush beauty. In fact, Sharon Wilson believes Bermuda's tropical splendor can be a disadvantage.
Bermuda is beautiful... so what? Anyone with senses to perceive is aware of this. My concern as an artist is to cut through the cosmetic and to focus on the people. Bermuda is a complex environment. Here it is easy to miss the feel of people and their fears amid the backdrop of hibiscus and frangipani.
The truth is that the two images --brilliant tones of the natural beauty and the sometimes darker emotional undertones of the people coalesce in her art. Sharon Wilson is a part of both images and often captures both in what she calls her "peoplescapes."
A former schoolteacher, Sharon Wilson's outstanding trait is her empathy for people. She admits she doesn't even try to be objective for all her subjects are friends and acquaintances. Perhaps it is this familiarity that allows her to so truthfully convey their moods.
I have worked with delinquent youth and the elderly who have been institutionalized. Presently, I work as an art teacher. Each setting has enabled me to view Bermuda from a different vantage point. The general public seldom is able to get close enough to view what I have seen. This too, is Bermuda.
A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art, Sharon Wilson touches the heart. Her images are so powerful that Internet websites routinely sell out of her most popular posters and prints. Today, she runs her own art gallery, a showcase for her oils, pastels, posters, prints and note cards. The artist's compassionate work can also be seen in the three children's books she has illustrated, most notably The Day Gogo Went to Vote: South Africa 1994 by Elinor Batezat Sisilu (Little, Brown and Company). The book tells the story of a girl's great grandmother who votes for the first time in her life, and is enhanced by Sharon Wilson's poignant illustrations. It is a book that Nelson Mandela called "an inspiring, moving testament."
At night in Bermuda, when the ocean murmurs at the shore and the stars shine bright as bulbs, Sharon Wilson is awake. From 10pm to 4am, she sips a glass of wine, listens to Andrea Bocelli, and surrounds herself with the aromatic fragrances of the soap she makes herself. In this peaceful time, Sharon Wilson paints when everyone else is asleep. "I'm having a lot of fun," she says, "I just hope I am able to do this for a long time."
Where to find Sharon Wilson's paintings, prints and posters:
Sharon Wilson Gallery
2 Turtle Place Horseshoe Bay
Southampton, SNO3 Bermuda
Tel: 441-238-2583 Fax: 441-238-2454
Hours: 9-4, Monday through Saturday
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