Exploring Connections ~ Sharron Schoenfeld

Cat Nap at Tea Time ©Sharron Schoenfeld

This year, Artists’ Workshop has chosen the theme, Exploring Connections for our 2022 show.  There are so many interpretations and roads that a theme like this could take a person down, but I have settled on the role that art has played connecting me with friends and family.  

The art community in Saskatoon is interconnected in a variety of ways. As artists we tend to belong to some of the same organizations, see each other at shows, exhibitions, workshops and classes. My inner circle of art friends from Artists’ Workshop is a hands-on group, that make art together weekly from September to April at Grace West Minster Church. In the summer, we paint together in each other’s gardens. On summer weekends, I join with painters from Hues Art Supply’s Plein Air group. This group meets in various locations around the city and anyone interested is welcomed. I value the new friends that these groups and organizations have brought into my life. We follow each other’s work on social media, share ideas and information about favourite supplies and tools. The actual making of art is usually a solitary activity, so these social connections with other creatives are very important. My art practise has been enriched and I have grown as an artist because of these connections but the real bonus is all of the new friends that I have made.

In addition to my friends in the art community, art has become an important connection within my immediate family. We are all artists! My recently retired husband Don has taken up bird carving and reclaimed metal sculpture.  His work can be seen on Instagram @workofarc306. We each have our own ‘maker space’ at home.  My studio space is a brightly lit room in our basement, Don has converted our converted single car garage into his workshop.  We visit each other’s space through-out the day and give feedback, problem solve and bounce ideas off of each other. 

I have three children and they are also artistic.  Danny is a tattoo artist and also does calligraffiti, epoxied tabletops as well as wall murals. Check out his Instagram @dannydismember. He has worked as a fulltime artist for 15 years. We are proud of how he has been able to use his artistic talents to support himself and his family all these years. His two children age 4 and 6 are also budding artists.  6-year-old Ellery is grandma’s ticket into Remai Modern’s, ‘RBC Creative Space’ offered each Saturday and ‘Something on Sundays’. Both programs are free artmaking activities geared towards children (and grandmas) and are based on current exhibits in the gallery. Ellery and I spend time artmaking then tour the gallery.  She knows her way around the building and is always interested in all of the exhibits. 

My other son Brad has recently taken up painting – IN MY STUDIO!!  Sometimes I come home and there he is making himself at home wearing my apron and commandeering my easel. I don’t mind though, sometimes he even lets me paint in there with him. Things have progressed since his initial foray into painting, he now has a designated painting space in his condo. He calls often to discuss and ask advice about the pieces that he is working on. 

My daughter Jacqueline sings, plays guitar, draws and has done some painting. Time spent finishing university and working have limited her pursual of the visual arts but I’m sure she will pick it up again someday.

The really exciting part of art being a common thread in our family is that we were able to have a family art show at our home in the summers of 2020 and 2021. Time spent at home during lock-down and two years of cancelled art shows resulted in a large surplus of art. Our solution was ‘Our Backyard Art Show & Sale’. This collaborative event included art work from Danny, Don, and me. The three of us invited our own friends and followers to the show and the result was a wide spectrum of visitors. More connections were made and continue to enrich our art practises.

The definition of tribe is a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest. Everyone needs somewhere to fit in. Whether your tribe is large and mainstream, or small and niche, it feels good to find a space to connect with others. I am fortunate to have this connection in my family and with my art groups.

Poppy Chorus ©Sharron Schoenfeld

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