Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Resin to Believe

Resin art | Sharon LaComb

I loathe those trite headlines that newspapers sometimes use when they’re trying to be oh so cute. Now having said that I’ll reverse course and say there is every ‘resin to believe’ that Sharon’s art has evolved dramatically since she began to pursue painting as more than just a hobby.

It’s an evolution I’ve been watching with more than a curious eye. All too often it seems that retirees plant their thoughts on ‘doing nothing’ after a lifetime of ‘doing everything.’

Unfortunately, neither the minds nor the bodies of these high-energy individuals are accustomed to such inactivity. Many folks stagnate and fall into bad habits such as the 4:00 cocktail hour or sleeping in. On the other hand, Sharon, along with her brush-stroke colleagues, have exchanged very productive and fulfilling past careers for new endeavors that are just as fulfilling for them as artists.

Casket Arts Building

Sharon began her artistic journey as a metal head and a blowtorch Nana post-retirement. After a career in academia and business, Sharon learned to pinch metal around stone like Giacometti and apply torching like Motherwell. She’s comfortable with heavy metal in her hands and blue-yellow flames framing her face. The Casket Arts Building in North Minneapolis was her first creative hangout. Now Sharon is finding her creative muse once again here in the desert.

A couple of years ago it was welding and metal art. Then it was making art out of old National Geographic magazines. From that it evolved to alcohol ink paintings. The particular arts and crafts exercise didn’t really matter as long as they suited her fancy…if even for the moment. Last summer Sharon began by dabbling in alcohol ink and acrylics as a novice painter.

Alcohol Paintings | Sharon LaComb

Alcohol painting is an acid-free, highly-pigmented, and fast drying medium used on non-porous surfaces. By mixing alcohol inks an artist can create a vibrant marbled effect. For many enthusiasts, it’s a new way of artistic self-expression. It means discovering the almost magical ethereal mutations that take place when alcohol colors mix and integrate into themselves. It’s layering colors, mixing tones and textures, morphing shapes and sizes into a kaleidoscope of  bastardized offspring’s of color. For its many disciples the process is full of constant discovery and, often times, pure amazement at the results. It’s like trying to cup liquid lightning in your hands.

Now Sharon has evolved past that stage and is exploring a plethora of other painting options. She’s been taking classes at the Palm Springs Art Center.

The building and the area surrounding it reminds me of Norde East Minneapolis but without the hipster shade of black and the aroma of Acapulco gold drifting through the area. It’s a little like the NKB building without the coolness of its eclectic patrons.

Resin Paintings | Sharon LaComb

Sharon is moving into new territory by exploring the application of alcohol inks directly into the resin application. She is applying crumpled up tissue paper for texture and depth and even burning the alcohol for a more dramatic effect.

I’ve even convinced her to explore the use of coloring resin before it hardens. I was cleaning up after her one day and found marvelous cast-off pieces of resin that had absorbed the run-off inks from her painting. The results were stunning.

There are a number of venues for Sharon and her fellow artists to explore all over town. The Uptown Art and Design District lines a boulevard of modern art, fashion and design items from around the world. The offerings range from unique to eclectic to eccentric. There are a host of vintage and modern furniture stores, fashion boutiques and art galleries. It’s like a bowl of ice cream for starving artists.

While Palm Springs has its art galleries there is nothing compared to the glitz and glamor of El Paseo Drive down Valley in Palm Desert. It is our own Rodeo Drive right here in the desert. Located in the heart of Palm Desert, El Paseo Drive is a siren’s call for the money-immune to shop their hearts away. El Paseo is known the world over for its signature showrooms, designer labels, and chic boutiques.

Sharon loves perusing the art galleries for their rare and exquisite pieces. For a mind now attuned to different styles and approaches to painting, she finds it a voyeur’s paradise. I find it shocking. The prices for most art pieces there are as high as the skirts worn at Coachella and just as shocking. If I muttered ‘seriously!’ once I must have breathed it a dozen times in as many galleries. Sharon just ignores my comments or steps away and pretends not to hear me.

In her new drive for artistic expression, Sharon has joined a number of Van Gogh’s disciples to find their collective creative muse. My point here is not to praise Sharon’s paintings per say but to admire her creative endeavors. She is exploring options and opportunities in paints and textures and mattes and chemical reactions to what she puts on canvas. Sharon is not afraid to do what she isn’t supposed to or what others may not have tried before. There are no limits to what she may discover or what she may create.

The lesson here for anyone in the creative arts is simple enough. Find something, anything to ignite that passion we all have within ourselves. Paint, dance, write, act and celebrate your life in any manner that turns you on. Find what it is that gets you excited each morning and anxious to jump get out of bed.

There is no better way to live your life than to do whatever it is you want to do.

Find it, embrace it, live it, be it.

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