By Joanne Greco Rochman
Okay, so Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but that was some 500 years ago. Today, artist Sharon Leichsenring, named the number one decorative painter in the United States in 2008, thinks nothing of climbing on scaffolding and painting ceilings and cherubs – despite her fear of heights and has climbed 35 feet high to accomplish a commissioned work over a staircase. “Nothing will stop me from getting a job done,” she said from her Leichsenring Studios in Trumbull, CT.
Celebrating the art of fine decorative painting, this artist has a reputation for her outstanding murals, trompe l’oeil and faux finishing. Many a person has walked into a wall she painted resembling an entrance to an intriguing room, enchanting garden, or inviting wine cellar. Many a person has reached up to touch a puffy white cloud in a Leichsenring sky, or gaze up at a cherub peeking through the heavens. The sky is definitely not the limit for this CT artist who paints everything from floors to ceilings and everything in between.
“One of my favorite things to do when I paint a faux shelf on a wall is to paint keys and eye glasses on that shelf. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that they’ve reached for those keys and glasses a hundred times thinking that their search is over. Those are the things most of us misplace and are always looking for,” said the artist with a laugh. Her work can also trick you into thinking that you’re going to step inside an elevator cab or have you bend down to pick a leaf off the ground. Her work is that realistic.
Of course, Leichsenring does more than just paint pretty pictures on walls. She creates a complete illusion and maintains that the success of her work is due to capturing the perfect emotional response of a client. “My work is affordable and enjoyed in homes by everyday people who just love art,” said the artist whose work is featured in many Connecticut homes. Her recent commission to paint a media room in art deco style turned out to be a favorite project though she has many favorites.
What most people don’t know about this fine artist is that she loves researching the history of her subject matter. One mural that was painted in a remodeled home that was probably a ticket booth to an auto race track in the late 1800s brought Leichsenring to a town historian and zoning board for details. “I was thrilled to learn that it was the first auto race track in the state,” she said adding that it then became a train station and years later it became a launching site for hot air balloons. “
How amazing is Sharon Leichsenring’s work? Do take a peek at her website and see for yourself, why the sky is not the limit for this talented artist.
Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of “The Fairfield County Review,” a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in “The New York Times,” “The Republican-American” and Hersam-Acorn Publications.