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Friday, 30 September 2016

Sharon Kirsh - Cold Wax Artist

This will be my third year participating in the Richmond Hill Studio Tour. Yet in many ways it does feel like the first time. Three years ago, my artistic focus was almost entirely floral in nature, and since then, I have moved towards an abstract style that still gives homage to my love of flowers through colour.  I have also been painting with a delightful medium known as cold wax.  So why does it feel like the first time? The change in medium and approach reflects changes in myself. They reflect my desire to be more authentic and honest in my work, and I hope I'm not alone in finding it both exciting and nerve wracking to share something new... 

"Fauve Rocks" 16 x 20 cold wax and oil painting on birch panel

My floral work came from a deep motivation to share how resilient and courageous I find flowers. Sharing these paintings during the first studio tour, was a huge a-ha moment. I realized that the joy and emotion captured in these paintings was contagious.

The idea that art lovers can share in the joy of creative expression, moved me to focus more on themes and emotions, and immediately, subject matter began to disappear. And then cold wax and oil entered the studio.  An unusual medium, that dates back to Ancient Egypt. Thick like shortening, it changed everything. I began working in an entirely new way, without brushes and traditional tools.  Instead, I massage the paint into areas with my hands and excavate the surface with pottery tools. This process allows me to bring out light and natural texture in ways that seem unique, fresh and sometimes perfectly imperfect.

"Strength" 18 x 24 Cold Wax and Oil on Birch Panel

My meditation practice has over the last few years had a greater impact on my work. I wish I could tell you that I meditate daily (I don't), but even subtle moves towards living more presently in my day-to-day life help me imbibe my artwork with ideas. Sometimes this is as simple as wanting to express a feeling, such as joy, and other times there is a beloved poem, lingering song lyrics or a quote that leads the way. Pictured below is "A BOAT beneath a sunny sky" based on a famous poem by Lewis Carroll by the same name. I have provided it below the image of the painting.

A BOAT beneath a sunny sky 16 x 16 cold wax & oil on birch panel

A BOAT beneath a sunny sky, 
Lingering onward dreamily 
In an evening of July — 

Children three that nestle near, 
Eager eye and willing ear, 
Pleased a simple tale to hear — 

Long has paled that sunny sky: 
Echoes fade and memories die: 
Autumn frosts have slain July. 

Still she haunts me, phantomwise, 
Alice moving under skies 
Never seen by waking eyes. 

Children yet, the tale to hear, 
Eager eye and willing ear, 
Lovingly shall nestle near. 

In a Wonderland they lie, 
Dreaming as the days go by, 
Dreaming as the summers die: 

Ever drifting down the stream — 
Lingering in the golden gleam — 
Life, what is it but a dream?

Events such as the studio tour, provide a wonderful opportunity for artists such as myself to meet lovers of art who sometimes also happen to be a neighbor. That really is one of the great benefits in participating. This year, I will be featuring my new series of cold wax and oil paintings, and in appreciation of the wonderful Richmond Hill community that has offered so much support, I have created a fun salon wall of remaining floral paintings, priced so that anyone can bring some floral joy into their home.

I will be sharing my work at my home studio at 8 Whalen Court, Richmond Hill. You can find more information about me and my artwork at my website. Inquiries can be sent directly to

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