‘Garden Glory’ by Los Alamos artist Gloria Sharp. Courtesy/FLAC
‘Jazz’ by Los Alamos artist Gloria Sharp. Courtesy/FLAC
Los Alamos artist Gloria Sharp
Los Alamos Daily Post
Los Alamos Artist Gloria Sharp was introduced to batik by chance. She found a pamphlet about the art form and this unexpected introduction kicked off a lifelong love for the art.
Sharp’s art was featured in the Portal Gallery at Fuller Lodge Art Center; her show was titled “Color in Every Direction”. Due to the Governor’s new public health order, the art center is closed through Nov. 30 but the public can view Sharp’s work at www.fullerlodgeartcenter.com. Click on exhibits and then Portal Show.
Sharp has enjoyed a long, productive relationship with the Fuller Lodge Art Center.
“I’ve been in numerous juried shows over the years,” Sharp said. “It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me … I’ve been reviewed by my peers and the fact that they have accepted my work feels like a measure of my worth, so I appreciate being able to do that. “
“Thank goodness for the art center,” she added. “Because it has a long history and it is one of our special buildings and Ken (Nebel, the executive director) has provided a colorful, energetic and innovative spirit to the center’s atmosphere!”
Sharp not only makes art but she taught it, too. She found that pamphlet on batik while teaching and living in Pittsburgh, Penn., 50 years ago.
Initially, Sharp said she would work on her art during the summer months and started showing her work in galleries and juried shows in Pittsburgh.
Then, Sharp began teaching others how to do the art form. She held classes in her house and hang her students’ work to dry on an outdoor clothesline. Sharp remembers her neighbors thinking the artwork was flags.
Sharp explained that batik originated in Indonesia where royals would wear batik-designed clothes immersed in Indigo dyes.
“Batik has been around a long, long time,” she said.
And while she has worked in batik art for a long time, Sharp said her artwork is always evolving.
“It has varied in subject matter and technique,” she said. “I’m still discovering new ways of approaching it.”
Batik, in general terms, is a method of painting fabric using dyes and masking material such as wax to keep selected areas of color preserved, Sharp said.
For her own art Sharp said she has used multiple masking methods such as melted beeswax, which she said smells really good but is difficult to remove safely. She said now her preference is a water-soluble material that easily washes out.
She added that she will make sketches on paper or directly on the fabric. Sometimes her sketches are of flowers and other times more abstract images.
The whole process of creating batik art suits her, Sharp said.
“Batik is very free and loose – creating as I go,” she said. “That’s the way I like to work.”
The process dictates itself, Sharp explained.
“Sometimes the end result is a surprise to even myself,” she said.
Batik’s looseness allows Sharp to work on multiple works at one time and cover a wide range of subject matters, she said.
“Because of the way I work I don’t work on just one piece at a time; I have four or five going on at different stages,” she said. “Some series have a similar palette of colors. The subject matter could be anything. Sometimes I work with textures.”
She added that occasionally when a piece is finished, she will draw with an ink pen or do a collage of batik fabric.
Being retired from working as a graphic designer at Los Alamos National Laboratory coupled with the pandemic has allowed Sharp to spend more time in her studio working on her art. She said she calls her recent work her pandemic series although they are not addressing COVID-19.
“I’ve been in my studio a lot,” she said. “I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to have some private time in my studio to put in some good productive time without feeling rushed.”
“It is pleasure to do it,” Sharp added. “I just really like working creatively and seeing what I can turn out. I love how the colors interact with each other. Each stage … is a delight.”
‘The Climbing Tree’ by Los Alamos artist Gloria Sharp. Courtesy/FLAC
‘Turbulence’ by Los Alamos artist Gloria Sharp. Courtesy/FLAC