An updated Artist Statement for the exhibit Atmospheres

Sharon Kingston Bellingham, WA Visual Artist

Luminous simplicity, saying more by saying less, how a suggestion leaves open the door to mystery, depth through a richness and layering of color, and connecting it all to what my every day offers me are some of the intentions which shaped my approach to the works for the exhibit Atmospheres.

The unique Northwest light is most certainly an important element of my work, but my paintings are also aligned with what Kandinsky called “stimmung” or the idea of mood painting. It is the interplay of this light and local landscape forms such as water and land that provide the visual sources which I then marry with the poetic language and natural world metaphors of Rilke’s words and my technique to create my atmospheric paintings. My paintings have been informed by these sources for many years and I consider poetry a wonderful and enriching muse to my work and process.

Atmosphere is an in-between state. It is a question, not an answer. It is a mediator between us and our environment: visually, emotionally and physically. Monet said “For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.” For some of the paintings in this exhibit I sought out the words of Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, particularly the first letter, as a poetic source to lend metaphor and meaning to the concept of atmosphere. Solitude, looking inward, our past and the richness in nature are just some ideas that were both personal to me at the time this work was made and seemed visually consistent with the idea of this exhibit.

I studied Fine Art at Western Washington University from 2004-2006 after a career in the printing and publishing industry. I moved to Bellingham from San Francisco via Pennsylvania, via Minnesota. I have been active in the Downtown Bellingham Artwalks both as a curator and exhibiting artist and hosted many exhibitions at my storefront studio before moving to a more private workspace in 2011. When not reading, writing or thinking about art or being in the studio, I love to spend time with my husband and teenage children—especially kayaking on Lake Whatcom. Every morning I drink my coffee and contemplate the view that inspires many of my paintings.