For Sharon Larson, the chicken came first. Her artistic journey started at home in her backyard with a kid’s watercolor set and one of her hens. After being a stay-at-home mom for so long, Sharon craved a new object of entertainment. The more she painted her hen, the more she liked it. And then like grew to love. It may not have been her best painting in the world, but it was her first and it’s what started the blossoming of her artistic abilities. 

“I can’t say the painting was great, but I loved the whole process. And one thing led to another. I painted my dog and then I painted dogs for people and then I painted my house and painted houses for people like portraits.” 

Sharon was so inspired by what she had created, that she wanted to be able to showcase what other artists create. In February of 2022, Sharon opened Homestead Art and Studio, a shop where she has 64 artists on board to sell their work. Sharon never thought she was capable of anything so creative or successful. 

“Every time I get something from a graphic artist, they give me a free sticker. You know, a little vinyl sticker and so I’ve got them all over my cash register. And I’m like oh, I’m gonna put them all over the mirror in the bathroom. Like I can do artsy things that you might not do at home.”

When asked about her creative process, Sharon had to stop and ponder. She never really thought of herself as having a process. She paints from reference pictures that are given to her by customers. She starts by analyzing the colors within the picture. She’ll see colors that don’t normally stand out in the image to accurately get the image to its most realistic state. Sharon also pays close attention to the emotions embedded within the image. What the eyes are saying, the environment of the image. 

“So someone submits a picture of their dog and all pet owners have like 500 pictures of their animals on their phone. It is very easy. I really, look at all the different colors in the picture. I mean, the dog might look, you know, like a golden lab, but I’ll see purple and blue in places that maybe someone else does and I add that in there. I pay attention to their eyes and if they look happy or sad, and then people’s homes are kind of the same way I get whatever feeling I get from that home is how it ends up turning out.” 

Sharon described one of the most challenging parts of her career right now as not being at home. She never had to think about the balance between work and life before because she was a stay-at-home mom. But her main support has been her daughter. At 25, Sharon’s daughter gave her the best advice she could have heard. 

“Balance doesn’t mean getting everything done.”

Sharon’s daughter definitely gets her words of wisdom from her mother. When asked if she had any advice for aspiring artists, Sharon said there is always a point in the process where you’re not going to like your art. And lots of people see this as a stopping point in their adventure of becoming an artist. Sharon encourages them to keep going. Get a good night’s sleep and come back to your art. Sharon says a night’s sleep always fixes everything. Try to care less and just let your creativity flow. 

“Try less like just careless and then it kind of turns out and then you’re happy because you’re not stressing yourself out and then you always liked the painting you did when you were happy.”