My name is Sharon Wittke and I live in the beautiful Shawnee Hills of southernmost Illinois where my studio window overlooks a peaceful pasture filled with grazing longhorn cattle.
I begin each day with a paintbrush in my hand. I’m a self-taught decorative artist, and my painting style is a blend of naïve, narrative and folk art with a touch of whimsy thrown in for good measure.
For inspiration, I recall the resplendent autumn days and blustery winter nights of my childhood home in upstate New York. Dancing witches, cavorting skeletons and grinning ghosts were among the many trick-or-treaters who roamed the streets of my village on All Hallow’s Eve. As a youngster, I heard colorful tales about tiny elves and grumpy belsnickles who lived in the snowy woodlands surrounding my town.
I’ve been strongly influenced by legendary American folk artists such as Edward Hicks, Rufus Porter, and Grandma Moses, as well as 20th century decorative artists including Peter Ompir, Jo Sonja Jansen, and Peter Hunt.
I began painting in 2001, following the September 11 attack. At the time, I was an Air Force operations officer at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois. I discovered painting helped me overcome the same sadness and stress my fellow Americans were experiencing at that time.
Humor is a key element in most of my designs, and my greatest reward is seeing a smile when someone views one of my folk art pieces. If you see a design that makes you smile, please contact me to create a folk art piece for you.