October Gallery Hop to feature the wildlife collage of Sharon Stolzenberger

Lifelong Dayton, Ohio, resident, Sharon Stolzenberger, is a wildlife artist. This statement is true! This statement is false! On Friday, October 5th, visitors to the Artworks Around Town Gallery Hop, will find, upon viewing her paintings, an answer to this seeming paradox. The Hop runs from 5 to 8 PM.
Her inspiration, imagination and the variety of media and techniques she employs produce fascinating images, which go far beyond the mere depiction of a nature subject. At the same time, her extensive study via fieldwork, life drawing and photography guarantee the authenticity of the images. So, she might more accurately be called, “An artist who specializes in wildlife”.
Sharon’s interest in art commenced at an early age when she enjoyed drawing and working with her hands doing crafts. She studied art in high school and her work won a Scholastic Magazine award. Despite her artistic talent, however, she started college with plans to be a veterinarian. This changed when she discovered that, “Math and chemistry were not my strong subjects, and art seemed more natural for me” she explained. This revelation led to a degree from the Dayton Art Institute followed by a period of working for the Gibson Greeting Card Co., first as an illustrator, and finally as Art Director. It was during this time that she started painting animals and found her true calling. As she expresses it, “I always had an interest in nature and the outdoors, but it didn’t fully come to expression until I started painting wildlife.”
Leaving the Gibson Co., she turned her full time attention to her art, doing outdoor juried art shows and fairs, teaching, and doing workshops and demos for art groups. During these years, she also traveled to Peru, Africa, Nepal and India for creative inspiration.
Sharon’s work appears in numerous art publications, has been shown in many prestigious galleries and juried exhibitions, and has won many awards, including: The Ohio Watercolor Society Silver Medal Award, Award of Excellence and Award of Distinction; Middletown Art Center Regional Show, Best of Show and President’s Award; The National Geographic Explorer’s Gallery; National Zoo Wildlife Show; Society of Animal Artists Annual Exhibitions and Travel Shows.
Sharon uses watercolor extensively in her work explaining that she loves its spontaneity and prefers the loose wet-in-wet technique for expressing the essence of her wildlife subjects. Intrigued with shapes, patterns and textures in nature, she has begun experimenting with collage, image transfers, acrylic and pencil to further explore the boundaries of interpreting nature themes.
Visitors to a gallery observing the works of art usually have little understanding of the time, effort and creativity that go into the production of the piece. Sharon has drawn back the curtain and explained to her viewers some of this process. She describes the painting “Secrets and Symbols” thus: “The piece evolved from an overall texture pattern I had painted on watercolor board. I used opaque values to subdue the background while at the same time creating the bird and antelope shapes. The painting was finished by a push/pull technique of painting and lifting colors, shapes and patterns.”
While this gives us some understanding and appreciation of the complexity of the creative process, it may not be very meaningful to non-artists, however, visitors to the Gallery Hop will be enlightened as Sharon is giving a demonstration during the evening. Working in the Studio Gallery, where there is plenty of room for observers, she will do a painting incorporating drawing, acrylic, collage and image transfer.
The exhibit in the North Gallery will be presented by Marian House. Also in the North Gallery will be a new project presented by the members of Artworks Around Town. Building on the success of the summer’s watering cans, members will decorate boxes for the winter months. Webster’s Dictionary defines a box as, “A rigid typically rectangular container with or without a cover.” Thinking outside the box is probably a better way to describe the varied and various “containers” visitors will find at the October Hop.
Artworks Around Town is located at the North end of the historic Centre Market at 2200 Market Street. Guests at the Gallery Hop will enjoy refreshments and music and will have an opportunity to meet gallery members as well as the visiting artist. As always, the Hop is free and open to all. For further information, visit the website at artworksaroundtown.org, or phone (304) 232-7540.

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