Sharon Nowlan has developed a sort of notation tool for her tiny art works: just as a composer might jot down minims, crotchets, etc. between the lines, she arranges pebbles – moving them to and fro – until a picture appears, capturing a situation including the mood.
And so one often encounters Sharon Nowlan at Nova Scotia’s Pictou County coast: „Each beach has unique colors and shapes of pebbles“, she writes us.
We were fascinated that the pebbles are so flat seeing that alpine rubble is more spherical in shape. „The ocean wears the pebbles very smooth“, she explains. The material originates from cliffs along the coastline, which, in turn, were the result of sedimentary deposits. When the ocean pounds against the rock, in breaks up in layers.
Sharon Nowlan looks for shapes or colors. Sometimes she lets the medium determine her mood, but she never works the raw material to conform to her needs.
She also incorporates other objects in her pictures such as fragments of seashells or glass, twigs or she will draw a pencil line.
The themes of her works describe every-day situations. „I love to make pictures that remind me of my children and the trials of raising them“ she answers when asked: „People write to me and tell me stories of their own lives, or about a loved one.“
Composing a picture using a number of pieces is more difficult that it might seem at first glance. „I often try twenty heads on a person before I am happy with how it looks“. The challenge includes finding the proper measure of adhesive to leave no visible extrusions.
„I am very grateful that I happen to live in a place where I have access to these little pebbles… My studio in the corner of my garden is FULL of pebbles, but I always feel like I need more.“
Photos: Sharon Nowlan