Sharon Martin is Cooper Corner Gallery’s May featured artist |

Sharon Martin is Cooper Corner Gallery’s May featured artist

Carla Jean Whitley
Sharon Martin's painting "Horse Power" was part of "Art and the Animal," the Society of Animal Artists' 54th annual touring exhibition in 2014. Each year SAA selects works from its annual juried show to join the traveling exhibition.
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Sharon Martin began painting at a young age, but her love and knowledge of animals has been a consistent thread since her childhood. After years working in advertising and other roles in Los Angeles, Martin returned to her first love: her country roots.

Those roots are on display in each of her paintings, which are featured this month at Cooper Corner Gallery. Martin paints most frequently in oil, and her work includes both miniatures and larger-scale work. She’s a member of the Society of Animal Artists and has shown work across the country.

Post Independent: When and how did your interest in painting begin?

Sharon Martin: My grandmother had me take art lessons when I was a little girl. I used to go up to this little old lady’s house her studio, and take art lessons when I was 8 or 9 years old. My grandma liked to do artwork, she wasn’t the best, but she really worked with me. I got art books and she’d have me to do shading exercises.

I ended up having a frame shop and an art gallery in Breckenridge, so for about 20 years I didn’t paint. I started painting when I moved back over here to Rifle. … That was in 1985, 1990. I’ve been back really seriously painting for about 10 plus years.

PI: Tell me about miniatures.

SM: I paint under a three-power mag lamp that has two rows of LED lights. It takes as long to paint one of those little tiny miniatures as it does a big painting. And that’s why miniatures are so expensive, because of the work that goes into it. My sister-in-law bought one (and said) “it looks exactly like a photograph.”

PI: Your work is obviously inspired by ranch life.

SM: I just came in from bottle feeding four baby calves out in the barn. For one reason or another, they don’t have a mother. You try not to get trampled and you go out with all these half-gallon bottles

That’s why I love painting horses and cattle and animals. I love hummingbirds … we’ll have as many as 50 hummingbirds at the feeder.

We have a lot of elk and deer up here at the ranch, and last night we were watching three little bucks out here in the yard with their little horns in velvet, about to grow.

Last year it was fun to watch the wild turkeys out there, and when it got toward the end of the apple season, the deer and the turkeys were fighting over the apples. I have a photograph of a turkey up in the air with his feet forward going after a young deer to chase him away from the apples.

We just see the strangest things up here with animals that people would never be able to see. So I tell people the story behind these paintings in the gallery.

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