Painter of Light

Silver, Jan-Feb 2009 , Kristen Watts, pictures by Jemma Keech

Painter of Light

The combination of her bold and vibrant brush strokes has the power to transport you to another place and trigger a surge of emotion.

When one her painting's is in front of you, you can feel the essence of the subject and almost bask in the warmth of the light that is captured on the canvas.

It is this unique ability that is helping Perth artist, Shannon Hamilton to fast make a name for herself as one if the state's most talented painters.

Much of Hamilton's genius lies in her ability to capture in her paintings the renowned luminosity of Western Australian light.

This, combined with her favourite subject matter of mother and child often embracing or at play at the beach, is proving a recipe for success.

After graduating from high school, Hamilton toyed with the idea of completing a university degree in fine art but eventually decided she would pursue a career in Occupational Therapy and keep her love of painting and drawing as a hobby.

She worked as an OT for years before realising that she had to follow her heart and make artistic endeavours her primary focus, second only to raising a family.

"I really loved working and an OT and I was very lucky to have some good jobs but whilst I was working in that field I continued to do my art on the weekends and I would do drawing classes at night and some shows. Eventually I decided to take the plunge and go into art full time and that was eight years ago." she says.

"It has always been a part of my life and I guess I am very lucky now that I can do something that I love for a living."

"I have become much more confident as my style has developed and my brush strokes over all are broader and more energetic these days."

"I started working in charcoal and pastels and doing mainly nudes. I have always had an obsession with the human body and capturing that and feminine things. I love unusual and exotic looks and shapes as well."

"As I went on I came back to oils, which is what I had done at high school. I love oils because of the layering, the texture and the vibrancy that you just can't get with acrylic or pastels and they are really forgiving as well, it brings things alive."

Hamilton, who also owns and runs the popular Mooba cafes in Wembley and Subiaco, now, produces around 50 to 60 works a year, with about half being commissioned and the rest going to galleries around the state, country and overseas.

She has built up a huge following in Singapore where she is constantly sending pieces that are snapped up by the big ex-pat community.