Artist Spotlight: Sharonza Penson








How long have you been painting?


12 years. But I've always been a creative. When I was 4, my piano teacher introduced me to soft pastels. I was in awe of her beautiful paintings. I doodled and took art classes in school. And in another life, before I became a marketing professional, I was a layout and graphic designer for 4 years.

Do you work with other mediums?


Acrylic is my "go-to." But every now and then, I'll use spray paint, latex paint and soft pastels.

What inspires your paintings?


I got tired of talking. I became tired of talking and no one listening. I became weary and tired of living my life the way everyone else thought I should and I have all of these thoughts, visions, concepts, and "roots" planted inside me. So, I'm inspired to FINALLY express myself the way my soul has yearned to release itself for so long.

How has your work evolved over the years?


For most of my abstract career, it's been solely an array of vibrant abstract colors stroked over a canvas. But over the past two years, I've added abstract figures (people/faces) to my portfolio. I've always struggled with sketching and that struggle has led to delays in starting new paintings. But lately, I've gained the confidence to just "do it...go with my gut and paint it" (paint out the sketch). Also, my backgrounds are now more elaborate. Each color is very significant to me/my artwork. Many times observers think the background is the actual painting, only for me to tell them "oh no, I'm painting someone/something on top of this. This is just the background."

Who are your favorite artists?


My favorite artists are:


Jacob Lawrence

Willem DeKooning

Mickalene Thomas

Lorna Simpson

Lee Krasner

Lois Mailou Jones

Joan Mitchell

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

The highlight has been the joy and excitement I hear in my collectors' voices, emails or texts when they see one of my pieces and they "have to have it." There's just no feeling like it and it makes me feel so good...it brings tears to my eyes.

This has been such an interesting journey for me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be an artist and mom full-time. Once my son was born, I knew I wasn't going to be able to return to my job. I didn't know he was going to be born with special needs (Cornelia de Lange Syndrome) and require a lot of therapy and specialist appointments. It was an overwhelming time and I didn't know what I was going to do; but I had my paint/art to comfort me. I painted whenever I could; and when he was 7 months old, I gained the confidence to participate in my first art show. I sold 4 pieces! I couldn't believe it!

A few years later, a stranger walked up and told me, " God will make a way for your talent/gift." And I have believed that every day since. I am Sharonza Penson - a cool, super mom and dynamic abstract artist.