Greatly influenced by her grandmother’s oil paintings, longtime Hemmingford resident Sharon (Somerville) Mark began painting in the eighties.
While she had always been interested in art, Mark only began to pursue a professional painting career following the birth of her children. “I just enjoy painting, and I always have. I started painting when my kids were born, because I wanted to work from home, and now it has been thirty years,” said Mark when asked about what had originally fuelled her desire to paint. (Prior to her career as an artist, Mark worked as a secretary.) Self-taught, Mark turned a hobby into a full-fledged career, showing her pieces not only in the Chateauguay Valley, but across the country—not to mention the gallery owner who displays her work in his venue in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Most recently, Mark donated “October by the Lake” to Magog’s Musée international d'art naïf de Magog, where the painting will be on display until March 12th. The same painting was also used in North Hatley's Galerie Jeannine Blais for their 2014 calendar.
Greatly influenced by her surroundings, Mark’s work embraces a naïve style, as the artist prefers to paint tranquil visions of rural scenery, often featuring people and animals. Her close proximity to the Eastern Townships features prominently in her work—apple orchards, ancient barns and depictions of the natural world are obvious sources of inspiration for the painter. Citing winter as her best painting time, the world she creates on canvas is an idyllic one, free of the worries of everyday life, often drawing inspiration from her favourite artists, American folk painter Grandma Moses and Nova Scotia’s Maud Lewis. Chateauguay Valley Regional High School’s Mr. Tilley was also a notable influence for Mark at a young age.
Mark prefers to create her own landscapes, as opposed to working from an actual point of origin. This technique doesn’t take away from her attention to skill—every leaf and blade of grass is intricately represented. “Her art is notable for the delicacy of its brushstrokes. Mark achieves the serene effect of her work through a painstakingly methodical approach. Using fine brushes, not a leaf or a brick escapes meticulous representation. She favours the effect of a foreshortened perspective,” reads an article written by Robert Lafontaine of Magazin’Art about the talented artist’s work.
Represented by Saint-Lambert agency Multi-Art, Mark began exhibiting in galleries in 1992, after a short stint of showing her work locally (her works have been displayed at numerous galleries across Canada, from Nova Scotia to Alberta). Today, she produces close to a hundred paintings a year, which are eagerly received by a receptive clientele. The artist has also worked with Unicef in the past—the charity has used her paintings in their holiday cards, which are sold to raise money for their cause.
Mark’s studio gallery is open by appointment. To view more for her work, visit her website www.sharonmark.com.