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18 Apr Artist Spotlight: Sharon Forthofer

Sharon Forthofer grew up on a farm in northern Indiana. She earned a masters degree in education and taught for 24 years in Indiana. Sharon studied art and oil painting with portrait artists, Cleda Curtis-Neal and Tom Edgerton. She participated in still life, figurative and plein air painting workshops in the United States and in Europe. She has a painting and an article published by International Artist Magazine in the book, 100 Ways to Paint Flowers and Gardens. She also has five paintings published in Painting North Carolina: A Visual Journey. SW Art Magazine recently published “Ding Darling Ibis” in the August 2016 edition. Sharon now resides in Rockwell, North Carolina. She is a member of Oil Painters of America and Plein Air Carolina.

When did you start your career in art? How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?

I didn’t know that I wanted to be an artist and never considered it until I retired from teaching elementary school. As a child and in school I loved to draw, but never thought about pursuing it as a career. I began studying painting and art about 20 years ago. I am still learning every day.

Describe your aesthetic in 3 words…

Passion, joy, color.

Describe your artistic process and preparation?

I am always inspired by the beauty of nature when plein air painting or in my studio looking at a still life set up. Currently the process is similar inside and out. I sketch the image in oil to find composition and placement of my subject. Then I work from darks to lights putting in the shadow areas first. I block in the image with color. Then I go back into the painting to adjust values, colors and edges to my liking. I keep in mind my initial reason for choosing that subject.

Favorite piece you’ve created to date and why?

My favorite painting has to be “Bloomin’ Perfect.” I had only been painting for a year or so and didn’t consider myself as a real artist. I really liked this painting and decided to send a slide to the International Artist Magazine competition. I received a letter saying that my painting did not win, but they wanted me to write a short article about the painting to be published in their book about flowers and gardens. That is when I started thinking of myself as an artist.

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

I am so inspired personally and professionally by the loving support of my husband, Jerry.

Biggest accomplishment to date?

My greatest art related accomplishment is having a collector express how a painting is helping her through a hard time.

Favorite location to create/what is your studio like?

My absolute favorite location to create is outside. I love the experience and challenge of plein air painting. I also love working in my Rail Walk Studio in Salisbury, NC. It’s a great space where I can work and interact with other artists and the public.

A random fact about you?

I love to travel in our motorhome and paint along the way.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

I can’t imagine living without my husband and children.

Name your favorite artist and/or emerging artist?

I admire many artists past and present. I especially like the still life artist, Robert Johnson and the plein air work of Albert Handell.

Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years?

I just plan to continue learning about art and working to get to be the best artist I can be.

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