“Observing Observing (a white cup): Bill Sharp”

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #22: Bill Sharp

Bill Sharp in studio 8-15

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I took the idea of painting a white cup as an opportunity to explore different approaches to the subject. I did several paintings and drawings using different media and methods of image making.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I was a full time artist until my wife and I had children. I’ve worked at several jobs to support my family, over the years. For most of my life, I’ve really considered myself to be working two full time jobs, with painting as one of them. My daughters are grown and on their own now and my wife passed away a couple of years ago so I’ve been thinking of returning to full time painting. I currently work for a High Tech firm to support myself but will be retiring in the next couple of months and focus on painting.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I have always drawn and made things and have struggled some with defining myself as an artist because I’ve had to work to support my family. I didn’t like feeling like I was dabbling in painting so I made an effort to stop making art altogether, at one point. However I couldn’t stop thinking about painting and began carrying a sketchbook to doodle in. My sketching addiction drew me back into oil painting. Through all of this, I’ve always felt that I’m an artist at my core but I’ve tried to avoid getting caught up in definitions and just focus on making art.

4. What are your influences?

My influences have changed a lot, over time. Among my current inspirations are Edward Seago, Edwin Dickinson, Fred Cuming, George Innes, George Bellows. Manet, Van Gogh, Vuillard have also been influences. In my college years, I loved Francis Bacon, Nathan Oliviera and still admire Lucien Freud and, of course, Richard Diebenkorn. Contemporary painters I admire include Jenny Saville, Ann Gale, Jordan Wolfson and a group of painters who are associated with PAFA, including Alex Kanevsky, Christine LaFuente, Stuart Shils, Jon Redmond. There are many more I could list. I spent a month, last summer, studying at the Jerusalem Studio School in Civita Castellana, Italy which also had a strong impact on how I paint and think about painting.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is in a converted 2 car garage. It’s slightly less than 400 sq feet. I have 2 skylights and also use track lighting and clip-ons with color corrected compact fluorescent bulbs.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Since I work from home, I have my work computer in the studio. As I have free time from my day job, I sneak some painting time in. On a typical day, I get up, feed my dogs and take them out to the garden while coffee brews. I pour a cup and the dogs and I then go to the studio and spend most days there, whether I’m actively painting or not. I spend a lot more time looking and thinking than applying paint. I often listen to music but never watch TV. Since my day job requires that I have a laptop on all the time, I have a computer in the studio, which can be a distraction but is very valuable for playing with source material, email, etc. Once I retire, I may remove internet access from the studio.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I prefer to paint in oil but also use watercolor, graphite, gouache and whatever else my hand finds. I try to have a few paintings in progress at a time. Since I often paint indirectly, I want to have something to work on while a paint layer dries on other pieces.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I’m interested in mark making and experiment a lot with different tools. I will try anything I find that I think might make a different kind of mark. Although I enjoy painting plein air, I don’t think of the work I do outside as finished pieces. I usually bring them back into the studio to use as references or starting points for studio work.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I love music and, although I don’t play well, I keep a guitar in the studio. I like to hike and bike and travel with watercolors and sketchbooks. As I suspect is true for many artists, I’ve made a living in many interesting ways including cooking in restaurants and working as a landscape contractor. I still enjoy cooking and have a big garden. Although I don’t currently volunteer, I have done volunteer work for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife, Nature Conservancy and Children’s Healing Art Project. I hope to include volunteering in my life again soon.

2 thoughts on ““Observing Observing (a white cup): Bill Sharp”

  1. Reblogged this on Bill Sharp – paintings and commented:
    The opening for the Observing Observing show at Prographica Gallery in Seattle is this Saturday, Sept 12th from 2pm til 4pm.

    The gallery has published short interviews with the participating artists on their blog. You can see mine here.


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