12 Questions: Shar Coulson

Updated: Nov 2, 2018

Shar Coulson is a featured artist in our upcoming November/December exhibition. The opening will be held on November 2nd from 5:30 - 8:00 PM.



1.Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I am originally from Western Michigan where I grew up loving everything outdoors…the lakes, the changing seasons and cross-country skiing in the dunes. I trusted my creative spirit and moved to Minneapolis, then Chicago in search of a more urban life style and connection to the arts.



2. What first inspired you to begin painting?

I have always identified as an artist and more recently as a full-time abstract painter. I suppose I fell in love with the luscious colors and endless possibilities that painting offers.


3.What is your studio like? Could you share an image?

My studio is pretty small, but has amazing natural light and high ceilings. It’s a total urban space located on the 4th floor of a timber loft industrial building next to the railroad tracks. I can see the city skyline of Chicago from one set of windows and watch the sun set from the other set. Plus, it’s only a two block walk from where I live.





4.What are some of your rituals in the studio to get the momentum going?

Getting the flow going isn’t an issue. I get into the studio around 10am, load up my palette with some yummy colors, grab a piece of vine charcoal and get to it. I actually do most of my reflection and problem solving at night when I review photos of the days work.



5. How do you overcome ‘failure’?

I overcome failure by learning from it and working harder and smarter the next time around.


6. What is the most inspiring place you have been to?

Loutro on the southwest coast of Crete.



7. Do you have any other interests or hobbies?

At this point the majority of my time is involved in art related interests and spending what time is left with my guy.


8. Do you collect anything?

I collect found nature objects.



9. What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life?

Contemplate by Gwen Frostic

The Love Songs of Sappho


10. What are the biggest challenges you have faced as an artist?

 Finding my artistic voice and a process that could best express it.


11. Who/What are influences for your work?

All things organic. Nature is probably my biggest muse. The sensual, free-flowing gestural lines and uniquely unusual shapes are a never-ending source and innately appear in my work. Some of my most favorite painters would be the American Surrealist Dorothea Tanning, contemporary abstract painters Per Kirkeby and Cecily Brown and the Mother of Modernism Georgia O’Keeffe.


12. What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m finishing up a 36”x18” painting for a Lynn Sage Cancer Research Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser and Auction at the Viceroy Hotel in Chicago. I was one of 8 artists asked to participate in the Designer Doors for Charity Event. In late September we were given 36 hours to complete a painting on one of the 5th floor guest room doors. It was an exceptional experience for a great cause; especially knowing everyone has someone who has been touched by this disease. I dedicated my door “Passion Prevails” to my mom. Here is a link to a great article on Forbes.com  "Viceroy Chicago Hotel Uses Art To Help Fight Breast Cancer"