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Sharon Massen

Being born and raised in the southern tip of Ontario, I have always had a God given inclination and passion to pursue a career in art. Watercolour and acrylic paint classes were a regular part of my life after my second child was born. For some, a niche and particular style is intrinsic and comes early on, for others, like myself, trial and error over a period of a decade may be necessary. Although I enjoy watercolour and acrylic as mediums, it was not until I began a course on the old masters method of painting that I discovered my true style. Oil is now my preferred and most common medium to paint.

The old masters method offers a structured process in achieving a high level of realism that was not possible for me with acrylic or watercolour. It offered a new perspective in observing a photo. This perspective involves breaking the image down into shapes of colour rather than placing focus on any particular object. For example, the lions main in the image below is composed of a multitude of colours and detail, a seemingly overwhelming image to capture with a paint brush. However, if you squint your eyes at the image, you limit the detail you take in and are only able to see blocks of colour. This method of blocking in the base coat is what I use to paint the first few layers of any piece, allowing me to achieve a higher level of realism when the time comes to paint the fine detail.

Moving to the charming town of Cochrane Alberta was the perfect move in my career as an artist. Being only 40 minutes from mountains, lakes and beautiful wildlife provides me with ample amount of inspiration and passion to paint. My wonderful husband has been a vital support and sense of encouragement in this journey, by ensuring I have a well lit and functional studio in each home we have lived in. I am grateful to have a family patient enough for me to take lots of photos of wildlife on our hikes. Often these photos will be composed together in photoshop in order to make an aesthetically pleasing and unique piece to paint. Thankfully my years in graphic design have given me the skills and tools necessary to create my own compositions and remain consistent in my niche of mainly western landscapes and wildlife.


Route 22 Gallery is located on the land of the Treaty 7 people. In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge the Treaty 7 territory and the cultural and oral practices of the Îyâxe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations as well as the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, (Métis Nation District 4) within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. It is a privilege and and an honour to share these lands as our collective home.

Route 22 is an inclusive organization. We love our gallery – all are welcome here.

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