The High Window Resident Artist: Penny Sharman

Hello, I would like to introduce myself as the new resident artist. I was born in Oxford and brought up in Burford in the Cotswolds. I ventured north in the late 1960’s and have remained in love with the Pennines where I live. As a poet, artist, photographer and complimentary therapist I seek new ways of being creative. I am inspired by art and natural landscapes and have a surreal approach to my work. I have an MA in Creative writing from Edge Hill University and have been published in many magazines and anthologies. My pamphlet Fair Ground (Yaffle Press) and my collection Swim With Me In Deep Water (Cerasus) are available from my website: I am really looking forward to a year with The High Window.



For my first shot I am using inspiration from Georgia O’Keeffe’s artistic genius. She has long been an icon for me and I was lucky enough to visit the exhibition at Tate Modern London a few years ago. Oh my, you should have seen the crowds wanting to gaze on her amazing work. I also admire Georgia O’Keeffe as an incredible human being, as an artist who held her strength in a mans’ world and continued her passion throughout her long life.  In this issue I have used some of her works to inspire me to write poems and also to create artworks of my own inspired by wild landscapes. I really hope you enjoy some of these.


Penny Sharman


‘When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.  I want to give that world to someone else.  Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not’ Georgia O’Keeffe


Georgia O’Keefe


Georgia O’Keefe: Nature Forms 1932 (Oil paint on canvas)

in memory of Georgia O’Keefe

there are red rocks
cliffs and clouds
there’s the Chert
silica-rich fire-starter spark-flyer tinderbox

there are 5,000 love letters
between us
there’s a public sensation
on the walls of art
there’s the back packer
in mountains in deserts
my collections of rocks and bones

come on inspire me
petunias ladders to the moon

there’s that image of a loner
knowing the faraway
my truth in love with colour
eye of a magnifier
there’s my affair
with wild landscapes
to paint in sun wind rain
of skulls stones flowers

you all know the words
a Freudian Vulva
my heart is not here
my heart is with my ashes
thrown to the top of Pedernal

it’s as if in my one life
I have lived many lives
at every turn

(Penny Sharman)


Georgia O’Keefe: Blue 1 1916 (Watercolour on paper)


the losing of late blood is

unrestrained redness

the flow steady down
inner thighs
congealed magenta tears

how she scans
uses her eyes
to seek any organic trace
of a spirit form

in the blue brushwork
there is nothing of an embryo
in the lost blood
water colour on paper

(Penny Sharman)


Penny Sharman:Fritillary ( Mixed media)


always give me windows
walls above a human head
flat roof philosophy

walk I walk around red clay
bare-back baked mud
forever views to a dormant Pedernal

nothing is green no oasis
only in the mind

this is no prairie
it’s nothing but dried out dirt

clarity is cold thick walls
give me a Pueblo home
where a coyote howls at her shadow
sees all life coming over the plains

(Penny Sharman)


Penny Sharman: Dark Iris  (Mixed media)

‘I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars’ Walt Whitman

Every pebble feels a breeze,
a deluge, the intense sun
over its surface,
it hears your feet
crunch life to rubble.

Every rock knows time
is a human spell
granite, quartz, sandstone,
they all see your impermanence,
rock endures, belly laughs under the flood.

Every fruit drops,
ripeness a time bomb,
each song thrush, carder bee, wood ant
will dine before you, windfall the decay
to a wormery.

Every flower is an illusion,
they do not shine for you,
other plans are on their petals of desire,
the perfumery, the stinkweed,
the dark iris.

(Penny Sharman)


Georgia O’Keefe: It was Blue and Green, 1960  (Oil on canvas, mounted on cardboard)


who would have thought
clouds are like lily pads
stepping stones
over dark blue above the underneath
these white circles of air
never know who is screaming below
making love manufacturing death
only the apricot horizon thinks
she is heaven

(Penny Sharman)


Penny Sharman: Seed Heads (Mixed media on canvas)


they all look smooth from a distance
up close on the canvas
paint seeps into the fissures
rivers run deep
into the hill sides
sun going down
blazes purple
a veil over
granite grey rock

a February disease
is in my hat

but April
is in the under-land
in my bones
quills of words

the purple heather buds
will cover Buckton hill
across the rift of the Tame valley

they will lift the ridge line
all that slack in the shuttle
we will walk on purple
depth`s in the third eye

(Penny Sharman)

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