• sharonkingston

Memory and Creative Work

“Psychologists believe that our capacity for creative work hinges on our memory and the ability to draw on our mental catalog of remembered experiences and ideas. More than that, memory is our lifeline to our own selves. Indeed, can there be anything more central to identity than memory?”


These paintings were driven by words from Rilke referencing memory (the September 13 entry in a Year with Rilke translations by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows).  These words were written in letter form to Lou Andreas-Salome from Rilke in 1911 as what I interpret to be a lament on a lost love, a lost presence.  The sentiment felt right for my situation and the changing of the season.  Folded into and inspiring my work this week were also the full moon, the anniversary of Sept 11, the warmth of an Indian Summer, late works by Joan Mitchell. Over the course of the week I started thinking about memory as a presence of absence–maybe of my former self. Aging has that affect on a person.  This morning I read in Brain Pickings the statement of memory as a lifeline to our own selves and it became apparent that memory could in fact act as a means to infuse my work with a lyrical blend of looking inward and outward to help me find my way in the now.

The work I made is different.  No horizon line.  No somber contemplation.  More warmth.  More evanescence.  More movement.  More mark making. Yet still, the aura of atmosphere.

Here are the words from Rilke:

Memory is not enough… I do not recollect. What I am is alive in me because of you. I do not reinvent you at sadly cooled-off places you have left behind. Even your absence is filled with your warmth and is more real than your not-existing. Longing often meanders into vagueness. Why should I throw myself away when something in you may be touching me, very lightly, like moonlight on a window seat.

#memoryandcreativity #paintingpresence #poetryandpainters #RainerMariaRilke #abstractpainting

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    open by appointment

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    360-739-2474 or

    email sharonkingston@me.com



    If item is damaged in transit, it will be replaced with a painting of similar style and value.


      203 PROSPECT ST

      Bellingham WA  98225

      my studio is open by masked appointment

      please send me a text with the
      day and time you'd like to come by.

      Sharon Kingston is a Northwest WA oil painter who uses the properties of her medium to create paintings that respond to both the atmosphere of her surroundings and poetry. This method of looking inward and outward and, in the moments of painting, finding her way on the canvas is her approach to creating paintings infused with poetry and the memory of landscape. The atmospheric element of her work is a testament to her desire to create spaces that are undefined, contemplative and allow room to reflect and accept uncertainty. Poetry, by nature open ended, is used both in the conceptualization of the work and as a part of the studio practice. The words of Rainer Rilke have informed Sharon’s work for many years, but she also turns to contemporary poetry when it resonates with her life. She uses layers of transparent color, reveals forms by concealing and unearthing pentimenti and suggests elements of landscape in her process.