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Former Best of Show winner finds a path back to art

For many years, Sharon was a member of the Society of Decorative Painters and attended art conventions.

For artist Sharon Nelson, the road to art began in the small Kansas town of Burdett.

“I grew up in a western Kansas small farming community,” Sharon said. “A town nearby offered oil painting lessons, and a group of us decided to do it. That opened up a whole new world to me. They didn’t have art in school or anything like this. I fell in love with it.”

From there, Sharon began attending various art events in the area, and eventually she joined the Society of Decorative Painters. Over the years, she had the opportunity to attend large artist conventions, study with teachers across the country and attend classes to augment her skills.

“Then, as things will sometimes happen, circumstances changed, and I put my paints away,” Sharon said.

In 2016, she moved to Aberdeen Village with her husband Franklin, whom everyone knew as Lynn. Right away, she learned about the weekly pencil art class. Although she was excited about the class, she wasn’t able to join until 2018.

“When I did (join), I realized how much I had missed it,” Sharon said. “For me, it’s a way to relax, and if I have spare time it’s a good way to fill it. It’s calming. During COVID, things were stressful. I’m not used to staying in my room so much. Painting was a time filler, plus I could just get lost in it.”

The product of her passion and spare time was recently on display for all of us to enjoy. The collection included several still life paintings and drawings, featuring a selection of flowers, animals, and everyday household objects.

“I like still life paintings,” Sharon said. “When I was doing oil paintings, I liked flowers. In pencil art, I am drawn more to animals.”

After spending her early artist years working with oils, Sharon came to appreciate the differences between the two mediums.

“Pencil art is totally reversed of the oil,” Sharon said. “In oil, you do the highlights last, but in pencil art you have to plan ahead and not fill in that space. It’s hard to highlight with pencil. Also, oil has an odor, and if it gets on your clothes it’s a permanent thing.”

For inspiration, Sharon often relies on pictures of nature, or any image that catches her attention and challenges her skills. Once she’s finished a piece, it’s not uncommon for friends and relatives to lay claim to the painting.

“The ground squirrel my grandson has spoken for,” Sharon said. “There’s also a copper coffee pot and candle setting on some books. I just liked it. That one my husband claimed as soon as he saw it.”

Despite her years away from the oils, they still remain tucked away in their box in a closet.

“Since I started on pencils, I have not returned to the oils,” Sharon said. “I would hate to bother the neighbors on either side of me with the odor.”

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