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This month we speak to our resident Painting expert, Sharon Henson. Sharon runs our Painting and Academy, Plein-air workshops and much more!

Firstly, tell us about yourself

My name is Sharon Henson and I am a professional artist specialising as a plein air artist. That means I mainly paint outside in the open air as opposed to only painting in my studio.

I love my local environment of the estuary and Leigh Old Town. I also enjoy travelling to other rural and seaside areas and paint regularly in Suffolk, Norfolk and Devon.

My happy place is getting up early to catch a sunrise, on the coast with the dawn chorus and the peace and tranquility.

When did you first realise you wanted to become an artist?

I have always enjoyed drawing and painting from as early as I can remember but at school it was never thought of as a career.

Even advertising and graphic design, pre digital era, was never discussed as an option post school but during A levels we were fortunate to have a new art teacher who had just graduated from art school and through her influence I went on to study an art foundation course at Southend Tech and from there art school and graduating with a BA Hons in graphic design. I worked in the design industry taking on the new world of multimedia as the new digital technology developed. I then started painting more seriously in 2010 and started exhibiting in 2011 which led to me joining my first gallery in 2012.

What is your favourite medium and why?

I love using all different media and sometimes using them together but if I was to have to chose just one it would have to be oil the pigments are lush and the texture is like velvet.

What would be your dream art commission?

Having to go and live in a camper van for a month to a remote area to paint plein air (outside in the open air) for someone who doesn’t impose too many requirements on the outcome.

What do you enjoy most about teaching adults?

The most amazing thing about teaching anyone is to see the joy and excitement of someone being about to produce a piece of artwork that they are proud of.

What would you say to individuals who are scared to paint as they believe they lack artistic talent?

I always say that everyone is create and everyone can paint its purely individual perception as to what is good painting. There is no wrong way!

If you can let go of the fear and just enjoy the process and the feel of the paint you will be amazed at what can be produced with a some guidance and direction.

What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning and/or wants to learn how to paint?

Have the courage to book a class or a course, come with an open mind, loads of enthusiasm and you will be amazed at how relaxing and rewarding it can be.

Its not difficult to catch the ‘painting bug’! And there will be no stopping you!

Join Sharon every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at our Painting Academy, as well as at special events including Prosecco & Paint and Plein Air painting