About Me & Thriving as an Artist

My name is Sharon Leah.

I believe everyone is born creative. When we’re children, we express ourselves freely. I felt so free, I drew a pig on the wall in a friend’s bedroom with crayons. Her parent’s weren’t happy with me and I wasn’t invited back. But my mom, a talented painter herself, gave me lots of encouragement. And with encouragement, creativity blooms. My dad appreciated my natural talents, but he discouraged my desire to be an artist. “You won’t be able to support yourself,” he told me. Lots of people believe that’s true.

Many people want to be artists, but they enter other vocations. Vincent Van Gogh tried to be a minister, but he was so intense and passionate that he overwhelmed people. Eventually, he quit preaching and devoted himself to just his art. I believed my dad was right and, eventually, I went to school for graphic design and illustration. I was a self-employed technical illustrator for 10 years and my clients were patent attorneys. The largest body of my professional work is preserved in some dark drawer in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C.

I didn’t paint at all between 1984 and 2015. In 2015, a friend challenged me to do something fun. “Loosen up those creative muscles,” she said. I was afraid to try. It had been 31 years since I’d held a paint brush or mixed paint on a palette. I’d forgotten a lot, but I decided to at least try to make art again.

I love the landscape, so that’s where I started, but not with paint. I made 4″ x 4″ paintings with polymer clay. Since then I’ve moved on (back) to painting with oils. Working with clay is fun, though.

Ice Flow, 2015

Thriving as an Artist

Thriving as an artist is really important to me. I haven’t always believed it was possible, but today I do believe artists can do more than survive. We can thrive, and that’s what I’m devoting this blog to. I’ll share what I’ve learned. I’ll challenge your assumptions, and I’ll encourage you to develop a thriving artists mindset.

Favorite Quotes

When’s the best time to plant an oak tree? The best time is 40 years ago. The next best time is today.

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

J. K. Rowling

We don’t fake it till we make it. We believe it till we become it.

Jeff Goins, “Real Artists Don’t Starve”