Bestseller Sharon Monagle Back from Competitive French Artist Residency

France is time and time again known and respected as the birthplace of art movements and a second home to future masters. From Paris to Toulouse, various French regions are the forerunners of contemporary art; consequently, it’s a competitive space for artists to get their foot in the door and develop their career. Self-taught Bluethumb artist Sharon Monagle has recently returned to Melbourne from such an opportunity – participating in the Chateau d’Orquevaux Artist Residency, France, a rewarding program for visual artists, writers and musicians.

sharon monagle

Sharon’s trip to this fairytale French village was the break from day-to-day commitments every artist dreams of!

Chateau d’Orquevaux, a hunting lodge built in 1897 in the style of Napoleon III, is located in the town of the same name and was once inhabited by the Saint-Exupère family. (You may recognise the name from the famous Antoine de Saint-Exupery — author of The Little Prince!) Sharon was selected from over 250 over applicants across 24 countries to join the residency from 2- 30 November 2018. What an achievement!

sharon monagle

Abstract expressionist and figurative painter Sharon launched her painting career back in 2016, and has exhibited in Melbourne and NSW. Painting predominantly in acrylic, Sharon’s work touches on themes of a political, social and feminist nature.

sharon monagle

She’s Waiting for You is a exemplary thematic piece by Sharon Monagle – eroticism and lust are depicted in this impressionistic painting of a woman

She has quickly become a Bluethumb bestseller and is in private collections across Australia and further afield, in the UK, Europe and the USA. She also features in the home of our PR and Comms Manager Freddy.

Koala bed frame mattress and sheets

Smith St Tuesday by Sharon Monagle adds a little familiar hipster chic to Freddy’s Melbourne home.

In anticipation of the artists residency, Sharon Monagle described the experience as “an intense and inspiring opportunity to explore new subject matter and new techniques.” With an international group of artists calling the chateau home, Sharon has tipped her hat to the residency’s atmosphere, which encourages experimentation and nurtures a diverse community with a broad range of artistic styles.


“My month at the Chateau was an extraordinary opportunity to progress my art practice and to immerse myself without distraction in painting. Prior to arriving there I’d spent 6 weeks travelling in Europe and so had an abundance of inspiration to inform my work,” Sharon explains.

“The breathtakingly beautiful setting and the supportive energy of fellow artists will sustain me for a long period of time. For me it was an incredibly affirming experience during which I was really able to challenge myself, experiment much more bravely with colour and focus intently on a theme.”

Sharon produced over 40 new pieces during her residency, which explore a number of themes such as the societal role and expectations of women, stories of love and lust, and the evolution of relationships, to name a few.

sharon monagle

Le Monde Pèse Lourdement is part of Sharon’s Falling Women series, completed during her Artist Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux in France

The benefits of artist-in-residence programs are plentiful. They provide artists time to reflect, discover and produce in a new environment, free from obligation and everyday duties. They create a hub of creativity, one in which participants like Sharon can meet inspiring fellow artists from different cultural corners of the world.

“The environment is beautiful and a source of constant inspiration, as is the opportunity to interact with and learn from others. I would highly recommend any Bluethumb artist to consider applying for this residency.”

sharon monagle

Located in the small farming village of Orquevaux in the Champagne region of northern France, it’s no surprise Chateau d’Orquevaux is a hub of inspiration!

You can catch Sharon’s art as part of a group exhibition themed ‘Women, Work and Wandering‘ at No Vacancy Gallery, QV Melbourne, in early July. Start exploring more of Sharon’s work here, or browse her picks of Bluethumb art to get further inspired!

Last Year’s Largest Project: Aveo Newstead

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