The Dart: Barnett loves her art

Published 3:00 am Monday, January 11, 2021

By Hunter Cloud

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — When Sharon Barnett was in her 20s she took an art class. Barnett came home and stayed up all night painting. That is when Barnett, who is now 74, said she fell in love with painting.

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Born in Centreville, Barnett said she has lived in Natchez three different times. Barnett has lived with her husband, Jim, on Pearl Street, where The Dart landed Friday, for 26 years. Those 26 years are the longest Barnett has lived in Natchez.

Barnett said she paints every single day as a full-time artist, and she sells her artwork at art galleries. Landscapes and still lifes are her favorite scenes to paint, Barnett said. Landscape paintings are hung on the walls of her home. Barnett said Monet’s lilies are painted in transom windows as stained glass, and her father Martin White painted the glass of several of the transom windows in the home. Before COVID-19, Barnett said she would go outside and take photographs of scenes that caught her eye. Since COVID-19, Barnett said she stays home and paints still lifes. Currently Barnett is painting a tabletop covered with shoes, dishes and jewelry.

Light is what captures Barnett’s eyes and inspires her to paint. Barnett said objects or a scene will sometimes sparkle in splendor, or the light makes the subject subtle.

Barnett said she faces a physical challenge in her artwork, and has faced a physical challenge since her 50s. Barnett said she started to feel the effects of post-polio syndrome, which slows down her painting. Post-polio syndrome is a disorder in a person’s nerves and muscles and affects a person several years after having polio.

“It is a virus that you eventually get over,” Barnett said. “But it leaves you damaged. It has affected me a lot. I can’t not paint, so I find a way.”

Barnett said she has to take breaks every 20 minutes and rest for 20 minutes because of post-polio syndrome. Barnett said before she had post-polio syndrome she would paint about 200 paintings a year but this year she was only able to paint 49.

Barnett said she takes photos of what she is going to paint and then put them on the computer to reference while she paints. Painting is a creative outlet, it is about problem solving and it is a process of discovery, Barnett said.

“I come across something here I have to mix a color and then I don’t know what to do,” Barnett said. “I kind of have to experiment and see what I can come up with.”