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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Finding Joy in the Abstract: Sha Tinsley Brock

Oct 29, 2020 07:59PM ● By Teressa J. Hawkins
“Art is a mad search for individualism.” ~ Paul Gauguin

Sha (Sharon) Tinsley Brock is a local Tucson artist who celebrates joy in painting her
colorful abstracts and is energized by the process she uses in her creations.
Born in Georgia, Brock lived in many places as the child of an Army dad. The family eventually settled in Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 1969. Brock completed her junior and senior year of high school at Buena High School in Sierra Vista. It was there that she was inspired by her art teacher, David Meeker, MA from the University of Arizona. Meeker encouraged her to develop a sense of self-expression, delving into abstract art and creative thinking outside the box. Brock started developing new visions of her school assignments.
Eventually, marriage, motherhood, working and then becoming a single mom raising four kids left less time for creative endeavors. When Brock retired in 2010, her daughter bought her an oil painting art class through Pima Parks and Recreation, encouraging her to continue her passion for painting.
“I have loved and created art for as long as I can remember. My father and mother had creative genes and it shows up in myself, my children and my grandchildren,” says Brock, who has worked in many mediums over the years. She continued her art journey by taking numerous art classes in Tucson, and has dabbled in watercolors, acrylics, pencil and oils.
When Brock attended a workshop in 2017 facilitated by Texas artist Annie Lockhart, her love for painting in acrylic and oil on canvas was reignited. Lockhart hosts “Soulful Painting” workshops and has authored a book about assemblages and processes called Objects of Reflection: A Soulful Journey Through Assemblage. Lockhart’s process and workshop involves taking an “engaging, soulful and free-flowing approach” in one’s artwork.
​This approach of exploring painting is not really considered a new technique or method, but a way to tap into our creative process without any attachment, meaning or judgement to the final outcome. In general, the approach focuses on being mindful and giving oneself permission to spontaneously create. Some feel that “intuitive” painting or “process” painting emerged out of different types of simple art therapy techniques. One can expect a new world of freedom without judgment when painting from the soul.
The big takeaway after Brock attended Lockhart’s workshop was a profound experience that involved creating without preconceived ideas or thoughts and developing a colorful style for herself. It was here that Brock embraced her individualism—and she has not turned back. She brings joy into her creativity using the tools learned from Lockhart.
Brock’s painting process begins with spraying the canvas with water, throwing  acrylic paint on it, moving the paint with her fingers and hands and continuing to play with it while wet. She then decides on what details to add, or works on defined lines. At this point, she often walks away and comes back to it the next day. The end goal is to let the painting flow more freely and not force something—to let the idea come out organically, allowing the “soul” to proceed in whatever manner.
Brock is enamored with the process of starting with nothing and that it looks like one thing on day one and another on day two. She uses chaos to finish lots of layers, wiping them, working them, while observing and choosing whatever finish she determines is right.
The artist takes great pleasure in asking her young granddaughters what they can see in the piece as it progresses. “It is so fun,” enthuses Brock. “They have seen such things as fish, strawberries, horses, bees, birds, waterfalls, dinosaurs, the Eiffel Tower and dentures.” Many of Brock’s pieces are actually titled from her granddaughters’ point of view.
Other creative passions of Brock’s include playing the piano as well as beading, which she has been doing for several years. She has created commissioned pieces that started as detailed pencil sketches. Brock has also made sketches of her two granddaughters, which turned out beautifully, but she says the process of feeling like it had to be perfect was stressful. She prefers the freer “soulful” art process she learned from Lockhart—a much better fit for her now.
Brock’s creative goals include to paint more and expand the sense of freedom and play in her painting. She finds great joy while painting and is happy if someone wants to buy a piece. Brock has not displayed in local galleries as of yet, though she would consider displaying her art in local restaurants or the many wineries in Elgin. During a local 2019 call to artists to display new works, Brock displayed five pieces at the Cox Communications building.
Brock has a passion for color. Some of the artists that have inspired her are Johannes Vermeer, Édouard Manet, some of the Old Masters, the Impressionists and John William Waterhouse, to name a few. She wants her friends and fans to enjoy her art, “painted with love and lots of color”.

Sha Tinsley Brock’s artwork is available for sale at Connect at [email protected]

Teressa J. Hawkins is a freelance writer in Tucson. She is inspired by interviewing fascinating people. Her background is in the arts, communication and education. Connect at [email protected].