The Art Of Life And Coming Full Circle

The Art Of Life And Coming Full Circle

by Sharan Merchant

On December 31, 2023, I will have officially retired from a 40-year career in IT. Over the many years, I’ve been a computer programmer/analyst, web developer & designer, graphic designer, publication and media designer, and even done some tech support. While I’ve enjoyed most of the work, especially the design part, and constantly learning new things, I’ve never been passionate about it.

Memorial Portrait of Pharaoh

As a girl attending school, my favorite subject, hands down, was always art. While I enjoyed other classes, there was never any comparison to the joy art brought me. While contemplating my career path in high school, I was always discouraged from pursuing art as my career. I grew tired of hearing the old speech entitled, “You’ll never be able to make a living as an artist.” Things were much different back in the late 70s. Careers as full-time artists weren’t often an option, and positions for artists were few and far between. So I chose to play it safe and selected a career in Computer Science, and kept my artistic endeavors on the back burner as a hobby.

“I now feel that art
was waiting for me”

As my IT career winds down to its end, my career life has come full circle, and back to art where I started. After all these years, I’m finally free to “make a living as an artist” or just have fun with it. I’d like to borrow a quote from Douglas Adams — “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

Memorial Portrait of Cherry

Over many years, my husband and I have raised a family and pursued many goals. I’m thankful for our beautiful family, kids, grand kids, and extended family members. They fill my life and heart with so much love and happiness. In these latter years, I have had opportunities to attend classes and pick up where my art education left off. I’ve been greatly challenged, excited, and eager to learn all the things that have changed in the art world and some that stay constant and familiar. I love art and discovering new techniques and mediums more than ever now. As luck would have it, I’ve got a wonderful husband who is so proud of me that he shows everyone photos of my artwork. He has always encouraged me to pursue my art, told me how talented he thinks I am, and that I should be proud of my accomplishments.

“Don’t be afraid to take the leap
and follow your dreams.”

In recent years, I’ve rediscovered the joy of drawing, mostly with colored pencils. I’d done a few drawings in the past with colored pencils, but things have changed a lot since then, and the medium and materials have greatly advanced. I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to take lessons and workshops from many talented artists, working with many art forms and materials. I enjoy constantly learning more and more about colored pencils, paper I can use, and all sorts of other gadgets that elevate your work to the next level. I’m very excited about all the artists willing to share their knowledge and expertise using colored pencils. I’ve had the chance to learn from some great colored pencil artists like Ann Kullberg, Bonny Snowdon, Lisa Ann Watkins, and Claire Milligan, just to mention a few. I have learned new and different things from all of them, and I’m so impressed by their knowledge and talent. I’ve found the encouragement I needed to enter my artwork into contests and have been lucky enough to be in three of Ann Kullberg's books and included in The Pencil Box gallery four times. I also was lucky enough to be selected to appear in the readers' gallery section of Carrie Lewis’ CP Magic. I have such a great love of animals and have concentrated mostly on wildlife and pet portraits. I’ve created a website for portrait commissions,, and social media pages. I feel grateful that I have gotten to experience the joy people have when receiving portraits of their pets, several of whom have passed on. I seem to be doing quite a few of these memorial portraits. They fill me with so much emotion because I get so invested in trying to capture the personality of a dearly loved and very missed pet. It gives me a lot of joy when I get to deliver the portrait to the owner, and they love it so much it brings tears to their eyes because of how much they love it.

Portrait of Cassia

Looking back over these past years, I now feel that art was waiting for me to make my way back. Always there in the background waiting for me to catch up. Where will the future take me? I don’t know for sure, but I think it will be a great and fulfilling adventure. As for all other aspiring artists who are holding back, don’t be afraid to take the leap and follow your dreams. There is no expiration date on learning new things, and even if you’re not looking to make a career of it, much can be said for the satisfaction in just doing it.


Sharan is a colored artist specializing in realistic pet and animal portraits. Over the years she has continued drawing and painting mostly as a hobby, and as time and other responsibilities would allow. Recently retired, she now spends her time trying to build on her skills as an artist and advance her art business. She strives to create meaningful portraits that are visually stunning, highly detailed, and realistic art pieces.


Comments (1)

I love them all but the little dog with the big brown eyes is extra special!!! Adore it.

Kathy Curtin - Feb 16, 2024

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