'Artist of the Month'

Graves gave up her
florist business to paint

Carroll County resident to be
featured in September
at La Grange’s Gallery 104

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (September 2012) – As a former florist, Sharon L. Graves knows every stem, every leaf and every petal of every flower by heart. She now transforms the images to canvas, having embarked upon an artistic journey that perfects itself each and every day.

Sharon Graves Painting

Photo provided

Carroll County, Ky., resident Sharon
Graves said her artwork is inspired
by everyday scenes. This one is
titled “Garden Path.”

Graves, 60, said she has “always been creative.” As a young child she made ornaments, potholders and was sewing her own clothes by age nine.
“My mom got me started doing hand-sewing when I was about six and then she started me on a machine when I was eight.”
Always curious and willing to try new things, Graves taught herself to crochet from a book as a teenager. “I always like to make something rather than buy something.”
Graves, originally from Mason, Ohio, has lived in Carroll County, Ky., for more than 20 years. She said she has taken various workshops, watched many instructors on the Internet and read lots of art instruction books to hone her craft of painting in acrylic and water mixable oils.
“But at the end of the day, you still have to put in the time to perfect any technique you learn and make it your own.”
She will be the featured artist for September at Gallery 104 in La Grange. She has been a member of the Arts Association of Oldham County for a little over a year. The members constantly display their artwork at Gallery 104 on Main Street. A reception will be held for her from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6.
Graves recently “chaired our plein air painting show,” said Kathy Dowling, executive director of Gallery 104 and the Arts Association of Oldham County. “She is often the first on the scene with easel set and painting outside for our ‘Meet the Artist’ night.”
“I am inspired by everyday scenes,” said Graves. She enjoys painting simple things one might see everyday such as rocks, trees, water, flowers, barns, silos and cornfields.
Graves said she is “a pretty traditional landscape and nature artist. Sometimes I think I’m sort of creative until I see a beautiful sunset or flower or the intricacies of tree bark. Then I realize I can only hope to portray the Master’s hand in things we see every single day, and yet don’t really see.”
She prefers to paint with acrylics. “A lot of people think the fast drying of acrylics is a problem, but I like it,” said Graves. “I can paint in layers and not have long drying times in between.”
She has a fairly serious lung problem and the turpenoids used to clean the oil paint out of brushes can present a problem for her. She uses water mixable oils instead because they are very similar to oil paints, but clean up with soap and water.
“I love a lot of color, and sometimes I paint in a more impressionistic style. But the subject matter has always been things in nature,” Graves said.
She is “a very prolific painter,” said Dowling. “Her use of color and light is jewel-like. Her bucolic scenes and florals are affordable and very popular which make Sharon one of our best sellers.”
Graves participates in many Saturday-only art shows, such as Art in the Garden, held in Augusta, Ky. “I used to live there so I have many friends in that part of the state and its fun to catch up every year,” she said.
Graves also plans to attend the Goldenrod Gala on Sept. 1 at Gen. Butler State Resort Park and take part in two shows in Northern Kentucky in October and November. She usually paints at Gallery 104 on Quads Night, which takes place on the fourth Saturday of the month.
While living in Augusta, Graves owned her own florist, Petal Pusher Flowers. She has also worked for Blossom Shop in Carrollton. She is a certified florist and has studied with Bill Hixson, a renowned florist and design instructor in Cleveland.
“I love flowers, and my husband, Jim, grows lots of flowers that we still sell to florist shops in the area,” Graves said. “As much as I love flowers, they have been my nemesis. I have struggled to paint flowers the way I would like them to look, but I forge ahead always practicing, always learning.”
Graves practices her craft every day. “There is only one way to learn to paint and to improve and that is to paint every day. The brush needs to become a part of you.”
Dowling said, “Her energy and enthusiasm is contagious and her participation at Gallery 104 has been very much appreciated.”

• For more information, contact Gallery 104 at (502) 222-3822.

Back to September 2012 Articles.



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