Sharon Schwenk came from a family which was creative with food, gardening, clothing design, and painting. Her mother and her mother’s three sisters were oil painters. The first time Sharon had an opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Art and see the work of the Impressionists she knew that she had to learn how to paint using oils.
That opportunity presented itself when Connie Winters, a prominent North Carolina artist known for her use of color and landscape paintings, became Sharon’s neighbor. Sharon immediately began to take weekly lessons in Connie’s studio. This atelier type of instruction with a talented artist was a gift from God.
In 1999 Sharon traveled to Provence for a painting workshop with Connie Winters. The French workshops became an annual event and Sharon returned to Provence or the Dordogne region of France to paint for thirteen years.
Sharon feels that traveling to another country, state, or region opens her eyes. When free from the day-to-day busyness of normal life it seems that beauty is all around even in the simplest scenes such as a doorway or gate. When she returns home, her eyes are open to the same types of scenes here.
Since Sharon is a California native, she returns to California every year. The vineyards, Santa Barbara coastline, and the farmland of the San Joaquin are favorite painting subjects. Her work has evolved to include the beaches of North and South Carolina, scenes from New England, and the NC mountains and countryside.
In June of 2007, Sharon had the opportunity to attend a Plein Air Painting Workshop in Taos, New Mexico with renowned landscape painter, Kevin MacPherson. His concepts and methods have influenced her work. She continues to take life drawing classes through the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, and other venues. More recently, Sharon has taken workshops from Stapleton Kearns, Quang Ho, Scott Burdick, and CW Mundy.
Sharon lives in Matthews, NC with her husband Michael and their two cats, Happy and Tommy.