March 2010 home page


Sharp Designs
Virginia Lawrence | Caminito Del Rocio

Autobiography: Digital Art

Even as a child Joanne Sharp knew she was destined for a career in the Arts - but which one? It wasn’t until she was 12 and had realized she lacked the hands of a concert pianist, that she cast her vote for the visual arts over the performing arts. The best way to support herself, she decided, was to become a “commercial artist.”

At Long Beach City College she majored in Art and Graphic Design, and met her husband-to-be, Dennis Sharp, another art student. After completing her Associate of Arts in Art, she transferred to UCLA where she completed a BA in Design.

Soon after Joanne and Dennis were married she became a stay-at-home Mom to care for their son, David. Dennis worked as an art director for a large aerospace company, but he and Joanne collaborated on freelance design jobs.

Body Language: Screenprint, 24 X 30


Pretty Maids All in a Row: Screenprint, 16 X 20

After Dennis became disabled in 1966, he and Joanne discovered that he could continue to make art weaving on a small table loom. In 1973, realizing they needed a wheelchair-accessible house, they purchased land in Del Mar, designed and built their home, and moved in in 1976.

Dancer: Screenprint: 16 X 20


Green Nude: Screenprint, 10 X 12

Joanne decided it was time to go back to school and enrolled in drawing and painting classes at Mira Costa College and UCSD. She became interested in screen printing, and in the 1970s produced a series of fine-arts prints based on the figure studies from her life classes. Then in the 1980s she concentrated on painting, creating a body of work as a representational artist with expressionist and abstractionist leanings. She worked in both acrylic and oil, but preferred oils for their buttery quality and her ability to “push them around” with her brush. Color (the more the better), line, pattern, the quality of light, and the reduction of an image to its essence were important to her.

Sunday Afternoon: Oil on canvas, 24 X 30

Meanwhile, working on a large loom hand-crafted for him in Oregon, Dennis had become more advanced in his craft, and began producing textiles suitable for apparel. In the 1990s Joanne laid her brushes aside and concentrated on designing and constructing one-of-a-kind pieces of clothing from Dennis’s textiles. She and Dennis continued this collaboration for 10 years until his health made it impossible for him to continue production. He now focuses on his advocacy work, which he began in 1993, for persons with disabilities.

999: Oil on canvas, 24 X 36

And Joanne? Joanne has never been stuck in a career rut; besides graphic design, her first love, she has explored print-making, painting, and fiber art. Her next goal is to master digital art and she is currently working on an artist’s book integrating her images and her poetry. Poetry!

999: Oil on canvas, 24 X 36


The Blue Skirt: Screenprint, 16 X 20


Rainbow Woman: Screenprint on paper, 13 x 18


Mitzi: Oil on canvas, 16 X 20


Crest Road Cutie: Oil on canvas, 24 X 36


DeSoto: Oil on canvas, 24 X 30


Just Forgiven: Oil on canvas, 24 X 30


Kandy Kar: Oil on canvas, 24 X 30


Pontiac: Oil on canvas, 24 X 36



Cat 1: Oil on canvas, 16 X 20


4th of July: Oil on canvas, 22 X 28


Crystal Cove: Oil on canvas, 24 X 36


Red Hot: Oil on canvas, 24 X 36


The Conversation:Ink wash drawing on paper, 18 X 24



Patio: Oil on canvas, 24 X 30


Still Life: Oil on canvas, 20 X 24


Getting Some Sun: Oil on canvas, 32 X 32


David’s Skate Ramp: Acrylic on canvas, 20 X 30


Joanne and Dennis February 2010



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