Sharon M. Stillwater

Fine Art

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Bio of an 'Accidental Artist':
I was born on a cold, snowy night Dec. 18. 1942—a volatile mixture of Native American, faded aristocracy, Scottish reclusiveness and French haughtiness. I grew up in far northern Ohio surrounded by flowers, farm and animals, and looked after by sainted, salt of the earth Midwesterners. It was out of this Edenesque early childhood, that I developed the strength and courage needed to face the struggles of life and to endure.
After high school I somehow stumbled into undergraduate work at Kent State University, majoring in Psychology & Anthropology. After receiving my degree in 1964 my wanderlust sent me west to UCLA where I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1971. I spent the next 25 years of my professional career doing mainly psychotherapy in various settings and private practice.
After graduate school I left city life as soon as I could for the deserts and mountains of New Mexico, my soul’s true home. Except for some fairly extensive international travel, I have remained here ever since. What sustains me here, aside from my dear friends, my art and my dogs, is being able to hike daily in the wilderness.
Art has always been in my life, but it started to become more central to it after I retired from my work as a psychotherapist. I had known that art was where I turned when I needed to express intense feelings and struggles for which I could find no other outlet, but nothing could have surprised me more than to find that what I produced resonated with others.
It was with great trepidation that I entered the “public” world of art about 15 years ago after much pushing and shoving from friends and other artists. It is for this reason that I term myself the 'accidental artist'. It is not what I set out to do, I simply stumbled upon it and am very grateful that I did.
For the past few years art had to take a back seat to more important issues and commitments and priorities. After the death of my husband in March of 2015, I did not think I would be able to return to art. However, once again, art has returned to me. And for this I am very grateful.

Boondocking near Havasu

Dedication:
My art, now that I am able to work again, is dedicated to my husband, Wayne Brock, who passed on in March of 2015. These words from a poem by Maya Angelou, “When Great Trees Fall”, tell of the experience far better than I ever could and so I share them here:
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold caves

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.