The new kid in town. Detail and precision in the paintings of Sharon Pomales Tousey

“The Collector Feeding the Birds,” by the artist, Sharon Pomales Tousey

A self-portrait by the artist, Sharon Pomales Tousey

by Bondo Wyszpolski

The Palos Verdes Peninsula is home to multi-talented visual artists, many of whom have been featured in these very pages. The most recent artist of note to move into the area is Sharon Pomales Tousey, whose photorealist works are often breathtaking. Pomales recently captured first place in the Pastel Society of Southern California exhibition with “The Collector Feeding the Birds,” a picture that now introduces her to a larger South Bay audience. We should expect to be seeing more of Pomales’ work — in person, let’s hope — in the months and years ahead.

“Succulents,” by Sharon Pomales Tousey

Peninsula: I suppose we should begin at the source, being your early years growing up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Were you introduced to art at a young age?

Sharon Pomales Tousey: “Yes I was. I was gifted art books from an early age. We had abstract expressionist to very realistic art hanging on all the walls of the house, also many sculptures, and we frequently visited museums and galleries.”

Pen: Did you have a supportive family?

Pomales: “Both of my parents were very supportive and encouraging. My father was a wonderful watercolor artist, and also Art Director at Lintas Worldwide, an advertising agency. My mother did not draw or paint but she was artistic in many other ways and extremely good at all. She enjoyed crafts, sewing, and loved music and dancing.” 

“The 27th Wish,” by Sharon Pomales Tousey

Pen: What led you to your deciding on a career as a visual artist?

Pomales: “I was good at it, painting was something I really loved doing.”

Pen: Did you have mentors or role models? Artists who inspired you? 

Pomales: “Growing up (and still today) I was inspired by the works of Charles Pfahl, Leyendecker, Rockwell, Janet Fish, Daniel Greene, Carl Rungius, Tucker Smith, Robert Bateman, and all the artists from the school of Photorealism.”

Pen: Did you paint in a realist style from your earliest years?

“Orange Bosom,” by Sharon Pomales Tousey

Pomales: “Yes, always.”

Pen: When you paint, do you work from live models or photographs? 

Pomales: “When I am creating a painting, the figure is always from my own photographs (unless I have the fortune of having someone sit for me for a portrait commission), but the rest of the elements on the painting are either from my imagination (usually if there’s a landscape in the background) or from observation (still-life objects).

“The only times I have used someone else’s photo are when it is a commissioned portrait of a deceased loved one, or, as it happened recently, when the client wanted me to turn an old, damaged black and white photo of her mother as a young bride into an oil painting in full color.”

“Creencias y Supersticiones” (Beliefs and Superstitions), by Sharon Pomales Tousey

Pen: Many artists excel in one or two subjects, but you seem to paint a wide variety of things. Are there certain themes draw you more than others?

Pomales: “My favorites are portraits and narrative, figurative paintings.”

Pen: What led you to Ohio from Puerto Rico, and how was the arts community in Bay Village?

Pomales: “In Puerto Rico my mother was unexpectedly diagnosed with both leukemia and the beginning of Alzheimer’s, so we moved with her to Hilton Head Island, SC, where we lived for a while before we all moved again to Bay Village, Ohio, where my husband was developing a business project. The art community there was wonderful, very active.”

Pen: Now you’re living in Rancho Palos Verdes. What brought you to California?

Pomales: “We moved to this house in Portuguese Bend in Rancho Palos Verdes last June after my husband accepted a position with ImmunityBio in El Segundo as Senior VP of process development.”

“La Heladeria,” by Sharon Pomales Tousey

Pen: You’ve been in dozens of exhibitions and have had your work printed in several publications, so obviously you’re disciplined. Do you have set hours when you paint, and do you have your own studio?

Pomales: “I wake up every day at 6 a.m. Around 8, I begin painting until it is time to pick up our daughter Ari at PV High. When I come back I go back to painting until it is time to prepare dinner. I paint from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; I don’t paint on Saturday or Sunday unless I have a deadline because those days are for my family and family always comes first. I have an area of this new house setup as a studio, but it is not as big as the studio I had back in Ohio.”

Pen: “The Collector Feeding the Birds” recently won first place at the Pastel Society of Southern California exhibition. What’s the story behind this distinctive (and somewhat surreal) picture?

Pomales: “I painted this large pastel back in Ohio for a crypto project, and the nft (non fungible token) of it sold. The collector feeds the birds the gold bitcoins he’s holding and their feathers, which he collects for his hats, turn more colorful and beautiful. Also, peacocks symbolize success and good fortune. When I painted it I never imagined I was going to live surrounded by peacocks here in Portuguese Bend. I’m truly fortunate to have them visit every day.”

“Lovers II,” by Sharon Pomales Tousey

Pen: Which awards or honors or recognition are you most proud of?

Pomales: “My Signature status with American Women Artists, with the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, and with the Pastel Society of America. And recently, I achieved Master Circle status with the International Association of Pastel Societies.”

Pen: You’re a young artist with a fair amount of success, but in the years ahead what would you like to achieve or to attempt that you haven’t so far?

Pomales: “I have participated in group exhibitions at several art museums but would love to someday have my own solo exhibition at one with paintings in large format.”

In the meantime, here is artist Sharon Pomales Tousey’s solo exhibition in the pages of Peninsula magazine.

For more on the artist go to or contact her at PEN


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