I was lucky enough to meet Sharon Ormerod in person at the European School of Theosophy, we had been friends on Facebook sometime before that. Finally, I got to spend time with this talented lady whose artwork I had been following on Facebook. I began asking her to tell me more about herself:
SO: I am a visual artist and I work out of the Cotton Factory in Hamilton and from my own studio in Sarnia, Ontario. I’m known for my pleine aire paintings, which I paint in local conservation areas and parks, in the fall, winter and spring. I bring my work back to the studios where I display it and work on larger paintings.
While painting in nature, I’m inspired by the power and vastness of the land, the weather and the changing light. As a Canadian artist, I have been influenced by Lawren Harris and the Group of Seven and Emily Carr. As a theosophist – Lawren Harris and Wassily Kandinsky.
I look forward to “bad weather” and love painting in a snow storm, if I can find enough shelter close by to keep the snowflakes off my canvas. I’m always focussed on the energy in my work; wind, rain, fog, and snow are all my “muse”.
The memory of that energy follows me back to the studio. For larger pieces I work from my pleine aire painted sketches fin the field and photographs as well as from the memories and knowledge I have absorbed by my experiences.
My larger works are somewhat realistic, usually depicting energy, light and movement to tell a story. Frequently the viewer experiences moving from dark to light, light radiating outwards, or the awesome power of nature.
Even when the work is abstracted and the viewer is experiencing another reality, it’s often still a “landscape”, depicting some aspect of energy, creation, energy through line and form, balls of light, fiery energy and deep waters.
Hermes: Can you tell us about your background, what brought you to art?
SO: I have always been an artist. I really think that this ability comes from the way a person thinks and sees life. The artist is an observer. I think in pictures, detailed and colourful and organize my thoughts visually. I’ve struggled to be an “academic” person, one who writes organizes and expresses their thoughts in words. I greatly admire and am grateful for this gift in others. Writing doesn’t come easy for me, but give me a paintbrush and I flow!
In later life, I obtained a degree in studio art and art history as well as a degree in education.
Hermes: These pieces of art you describe as portraying energy and light, could you talk more on that? Would you describe this as spiritual art, or esoteric art?
SO: I would say my art is both spiritual and esoteric. Spiritual art speaks to the human spirit or soul and I would hope that my art would inspire the viewer to look at the inherent energy and light of the landscape or abstract painting and feel uplifted, energized or inspired.
Esoterically, I’m always thinking of the larger universal meaning. The manifestation of universal thought into unique expression. All things are produced by vibration, light and consciousness.
Hermes: What is the medium for these pictures? Why do you work in this medium?
SO: My medium of choice is oil on canvas or board. They are very “comfortable for me”, I’m sure I worked with oils and pigments in lives before; I just knew what to do with them. Oils are the most pliable, dry slower, and are most vibrant and true colour. I also work in acrylic and mixed media. These two small sketches are acrylic and mixed media on paper. You can do things with acrylics that you can’t with oils. Both mediums have their unique qualities.
Hermes: Please comment on how you were influenced to make this art and about who influences you.
SO: While painting in nature, I’m inspired by the power and vastness of the land, the weather and the changing light. As a Canadian artist, I have been influenced by Lawren Harris and the Group of Seven and Emily Carr. As a theosophist – Lawren Harris and Wassily Kandinsky. Studying art history, I realized that I’m interested in Impressionism, abstract expressionists, colour, light, the energy of Van Gough, the deconstruction of Picasso and much much more. The whole process of human expression is fascinating.
Hermes: How do you prepare yourself to make this type of art?
SO: I definitely have to “get out of my head”, get past my ego, get past preconceived ideas – then I can fly! Just paint! Create with no restrictions. It’s a meditation really. Go from the universal to the particular.
Hermes: Perhaps you can tell us more about the colours, why do you use certain colours? Do they have a significance? Are the colours representing anything?
SO: I do feel that the colours have an effect on the viewer, a vibrational effect. Blues, yellows and whites are always inspiring to me and I tend to use them often. I paint with the whole spectrum and enjoy the earthiness of browns, siennas, ochers and crimsons in the landscapes. After all, we are here now, in this earthy place, our feet on the ground and its part of us. The trip to spiritual realization is the dance. I don’t try to manipulate colours to portray or mean anything intellectually. Other artists do.
To let the eye stray over a palette, splashed with many colours, produces a dual result. In the first place one receives a PURELY PHYSICAL IMPRESSION, one of pleasure and contentment at the varied and beautiful colours. <…> But these physical sensations can only be of short duration. They are merely superficial and leave no lasting impression, for the soul is unaffected. <…> the second main result of looking at colours: THEIR PSYCHIC EFFECT. They produce a corresponding spiritual vibration, and it is only as a step towards this spiritual vibration that the elementary physical impression is of importance.”
Hermes: What direction is your art going for the future?
SO: I am working full time on my art. My focus has not been to sell, (although I want to sell and I do sell sometimes). My work is to continue to develop as an artist and a human being. I would like to continue to exhibit my work.
Hermes: Thank you very much for the interview. I really appreciate your paintings. Where can people find your art-do you have a website?
SO: You can find my website at: sharonormerod.com
I have two videos on YouTube. https://youtu.be/0nL-4oKajRk