I grew up in western Michigan and excelled at drawing from an early age. I began working professionally as a graphic designer in 1973 at the age of 16.  I went on to have a distinguished 47-year career as an award-winning designer, art director and creative director, working mostly for advertising agencies. I started painting in 2004 but found it difficult to pursue on a regular basis while maintaining a creatively demanding job. It wasn't until I retired in 2020 that I began painting on a regular basis. Though I’ve taken an introductory painting class at an art college in Nashville, I am basically a self-taught painter.

My work is heavily influenced by my experience in advertising. The look of my paintings is the result of styling and lighting techniques I learned from the hundreds of photoshoots I directed over the years.

Artist Statement

I create highly realistic paintings of still lifes composed of objects placed together to

form a narrative. I approach my work like an explorer looking for meaning in the physical world through the things people interact with. As artifacts of human evolution, objects hold symbolic meaning connected to history, culture, beliefs, and subjective experience. When placed together, the objects take on new more complex meanings that allow me to examine a wide variety of emotions and ideas.

My artistic process begins with singling out an object I want to work with. One that intrigues me, connects with me or piques my curiosity. With the intention of finding a story, I then intuitively place other objects in context with the original object based on what seems to feel right. After many combinations and adjustments, I arrive at a composition that deepens, shifts or clarifies my perspective in some way. Finally, I depict the resulting scene with great detail. It is a slow process that allows my thoughts and feelings to surface with minimal outside influence. The stories that emerge are often unexpected even to me.

Ultimately, painting helps me make sense of the world. I hope my work is viewed as an invitation to find personal connections to the narratives and provides a mechanism for reflection.



MIMIC, International Juried Exhibition, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH (forthcoming May 2022)

American Women Artists Spring Online Exhibition, National Juried Competition


Feminist Insight: Telling Her Story, National Juried Competition, Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery, Fayetteville, NC


Breaking Through: The Rise of American Women Artists, National Juried Competition, American Women Artists, Customs House Art Musem, Clarksville, TN


Narrative Still Life Exhibition, National Juried Competition, Catholic Art Institute, Chicago, IL

ViewPoint 53 Exhibition, Cincinnati Art Club’s National Juried Art Competition, Cincinnati, OH



Asheville Arts Council, Regional Juried Show, Asheville, NC


2022 / Artists Over 60 Competition, Finalist, Artist Magazine March/April Issue


2022 / National Artistic Excellence Competition, Runner Up, Southwest Art Magazine January/February Issue


American Women Artists / website


Oil Painters of America / website

Newsletter Archive


May / What's this all about?

February / A work in progress.

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Sharon Harms is located in Nashville, Tennessee



©2022 by Sharon Harms