Somewhere between the fifth and sixth floor Sharratt DeLong paused. He was standing in the stairwell of his apartment complex, a not-so-secret spot where he often finds inspiration.
Simple, everyday scenes catch DeLong’s attention. “It’s a constant process of reflection and observation of just the world around me,” he said.
DeLong is a Wenatchee-based painter whose most recent work focuses on helping people think more deeply about what they see in day-to-day life.
The Collapse Contemporary Art Gallery in downtown Wenatchee is featuring an exhibit of DeLong’s latest paintings — “Stare Well” — through August.
Stairwells are places of pure light and geometry, he said. They are distilled spaces with basic elements of the everyday experience.
These scenes have a meditative quality and “I like being able to get lost in them,” he said. There is something more inviting about an empty space versus a portrait of a person that is looking back at the viewer.
DeLong said he became fascinated with the range of different views and emotions which one could capture in stairwells. It became an exercise in observing subtlety.
Many of the paintings DeLong creates have no other humans involved, except the viewer.
“Loneliness and aloneness is a really basic human condition, and it’s something that can be beautiful and it’s also challenging to all of us,” he said.
It takes a lot of work, focus, faith and bravery to be an artist, he said.
“You’re alone a lot of the time, so you’re contending with your own thoughts. You are your own worst enemy, as well as your own hero … it can be a really tough mental game,” he said.
DeLong said he gets much of his creative inspiration from what he sees around the Wenatchee Valley.
The surrounding area allows for a lot of natural beauty and quiet time, he said. Having time to dream and time to imagine is a pretty crucial element to have as an artist.
The studio space DeLong uses is situated next to his living room window, which looks out over the Wenatchee foothills.
Going on hikes and taking drives around the Wenatchee Valley are a couple of ways DeLong finds inspiration as a painter. The idea is to stem imagination and peak curiosity; Wenatchee is good for that, he said.
“I am just doing the best I can and trying to produce a view on the world that’s sincere … that hopefully can capture a lot of beauty and a lot of depth,” he said.
Those interested in checking out DeLong’s latest paintings can visit the Collapse Gallery on 115 S. Wenatchee Ave.