When it comes to painting the light, one exemplary artist on the scene today is Sharon Calahan. We’ve been representing the Petaluma painter and Pixar mainstay since 2011. Sharon’s painting, “Bear Creek Summer” (16″ x 20″) is featured in our current show, Beloved California IV.
If you saw Pixar‘s 2015 animated film The Good Dinosaur (see the trailer here), you’ll recognize Sharon’s distinctive hand. This 2015 Wired Magazine artist profile, written after the release of the film, provides a good sense of how painting informs Sharon’s work for the animation studio. In 2014, her outstanding achievements earned her membership in the elite American Society of Cinematographers—”the first member,” according to her Wikipedia entry, “to be elected to that professional group who had worked only in animation, without also having done live action film.”
For this pastoral, simple rural scene, Eric Johnson made a frame in a fairly plain 3-1/4″ wide slope in quartersawn white oak stained Medieval Oak to harmonize with the shadows and warm tones of the rocks under the water. The idea of the slope, of course, is to sustain and amplify the picture’s strong perspective, which draws you in to the intoxicating mood of a summer day in the countryside. We did carve the profile a bit, and also carved the pale gold liner, which is in a convex, or cushion, shape. With the carved, rounded portions of the profile, the point was to repeat the textures depicted in the painting, including the rocks. Carving also echos the texture of the paint on the canvas.
Below are two more works by Sharon, both examples of her mastery of light: her 9″ x 12″ painting, “Sierra Glow” (sold), which we used on the postcard for the very first “Beloved California” in 2016; and “Spring Majesty,” on hand in the gallery (though not included in the show).