Okay . . . some of you might have read that after emceeing the RWA Rita and Golden Heart Awards ceremony in Atlanta last month, hubby and I took off someplace to unwind. Because neither of us had ever visited Savannah, it seemed like the perfect place. And it was.
It was absolutely lovely. So picturesque. Not that I’m the only one who thinks so. The art galleries along City Market were plenty, and many of the paintings captured the images and charm of this southern town. And several of the artists captured my interest. So much so, that I bought eight prints while I was there from three different artists.
I was also lucky enough to actually meet one of the artists. And because I saw she had also published a children’s book, we had a nice little chat about writing and art. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Sharon Saseen, a very talented artist, whose artwork will be hanging in my new home very soon! And today, I have a special prize. I’m giving away a copy of Sharon’s book, Patience and the Flower Girl. So make sure you leave a comment and tell us what kind of art you like!
First, Sharon, I’d love to know what inspired you to become an artist?
The inspiration to become an artist began in childhood listening to books on my little record player, picturing the scenes, and imagining the characters in my mind. The world of imagination was a great place to visit!
My family did not have a television until I was seven and it was a black and white set. This was a good thing!
I can recall a life size dollhouse in our back yard where my sisters and I produced plays, had clubhouse meetings with neighborhood children, and served candy treats while playing restaurant. This was an environment for the imagination. My childhood was also an era of coloring books, Walt Disney’s vivid color movies and circus tents. It was the 50’s.
I knew as a child that I was an artist, not that I would grow up to be an artist, but that I was made an artist.
I know that you have also written and published a children’s book. Can you tell us about that?
As a former elementary art educator, I loved picture books! Some of the best drawing and paintings are from contempory illustrators. So with this desire to write and to illustrate books, I began thinking about a venue. A fairytale wedding story came to mind when I saw a pigeon circling inside a church in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Hence, a humorous story about a unique friendship between a flower girl and a wedding dove was born.
Patience and the Flower Girl tells the story of Alice Ann, a reluctant flower girl who blooms in her role as flower girl at her aunt’s wedding, with the help and antics of a special friend, Patience.
I know writing and painting are both art forms that utilize the right side of our brains, How else do you think painting compares to writing?
This is an academic question, so I will answer it in that manner.
Writing and painting are forms of communication, a language of the imagination. The composition of the painter includes elements of line, color, shape, pattern, space, and tone/value. The viewer of the painting is moved to a higher level of consciousness.
The writer relies on nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs to form sentences to create a world in which the reader is transported to a different plane of awareness.
The painter and the writer are observers of their environment. The finished work is a personal expression of what is going on inside and outside of the observer.
A painter uses a sketchbook, whereas, a writer stores his experiences in a journal. The writer paints pictures with words. Both arts exaggerate reality to entertain or to persuade an audience.
Creative, expressive people are just barometers of our civilizations reflecting and preserving the culture of our times.
As a writer, I’m always being asked what inspired a particular book? So let me ask you, what inspires your paintings? Do you come across a scene and just get pulled in? Is it a certain type of light that triggers your artist within and it says, “Paint this?”
My lifetime spans the restoration of America’s largest Historic District, Savannah, Georgia. During my childhood, the Historic Savannah Foundation was well underway. I witnessed the townhomes being restored, courtyard gardens were replanted, and homes sometimes moved to other locations.
Our barren parks and monuments were slowly cleaned and filled with shrubs and flowers. Garden Clubs and other private donors came to the rescue.
At the age of ten, I was taking private oil painting classes and was literally, “painting the town.”
The thrill of being on location experiencing a communion with light, value, color, shapes and patterns to create the beautiful scenery was intoxicating! I grew up painting and drawing because I felt empowered to make the scene better than it actually was. I added shutters to windows where there were none, plants and flowers to empty porches, added color to buildings that were white. In the magnolia trees I painted bouquets of flowers that danced in the breeze.
From your paintings that I’ve seen, there seems to be a deep connection to Savannah. Is this true with all your work, or do you get inspiration from other areas as well?
I love to travel internationally and paint on location. Years of perfecting my craft to appreciate good design, now affords me the pure joy of expressing the scene in front of me.
When a passing tourist asks, “How long have you been working on this painting?” I generally reply, “Two hours and thirty years.”
My portfolio includes: Charleston, Beaufort, and Hilton Head, South Carolina and the countries that I have traveled to like Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.
How would someone go about purchasing some of your work?
Originals and prints can be purchased in Savannah from Signature Gallery, in City Market and Gallery 209, River Street. In South Carolina they are in Planet Hilton Head in Harbour Town, Hilton Head. They can also, be purchased from my website www.saseen.com. For further information, call me at 912-233-1341.
LOCAL COLOR in Sandfly, Georgia is where I teach workshops and show my abstract painting collages.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
When you come to Savannah look me up!
Thank you so much for being here, Sharon! I loved meeting you and I’m going to love having your artwork in my home everyday! Now one lucky commenter is going to win a copy of your book, Patience and the Flower Girl. Good luck!