Monday, August 31, 2015

Meet the Artist of the Week
Sharon Wittke
Ravensbend Folk Art

Our featured artist of the week is Sharon Wittke.  .

She begins each day with a paintbrush in her hand. She is a self-taught decorative artist and her painting style is a blend of naïve, narrative and folk art with a touch of whimsy thrown in for good measure.

Using acrylics, she paints her original designs on a variety of surfaces. Wooden bowls and plates, chairs, three legged stools, cheese boxes, and antique kitchen utensils are among my favorite items to decorate. She will scour local antique and resale shops for odd or interesting items to paint. Her favorite subjects are Halloween, Christmas, other holidays, and scenes of rural life.

Her inspiration is the resplendent autumn days and blustery winter nights of her childhood home in upstate New York. Dancing witches, cavorting skeletons and grinning ghosts were among the many trick-or-treaters who roamed the streets of her village on All Hallow’s Eve. As a youngster, she heard colorful tales about tiny elves and grumpy belsnickles who lived in the snowy woodlands surrounding my town.

She is influenced by legendary American folk artists such as Edward Hicks, Rufus Porter, and Grandma Moses whose prints hung in the village library, where Sharon was a frequent visitor. 

Sharon began painting in 2001, following the September 11 attack. At the time, she was an Air Force operations officer at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois and painting helped her overcome the sadness and stress most Americans were experiencing at that time. Sharon has had no formal art training.  She is completely self-taught.

Sharon states that humor is a key element in most of her designs, and her greatest reward is seeing a smile when someone views one of her folk art pieces. If you see a design that makes you smile, please contact Sharon to create a folk art piece for you.

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