Sharon Stone, artist – CBS News

Sharon Stone, artist - CBS News

There is a world where charcoal-colored snakes coil through clouds of pink and blue, where banyan trees hover almost translucent, where colors curve and nature unravels … a world of acrylic on canvas that you might be surprised to learn comes from the brushstrokes of activist and actor Sharon Stone.

“Nature is almost, like, this free hand of God, if you will – flowers, tulips, dandelions,” she said. “You don’t have to paint a dandelion exactly like that, you know what I mean? They can be the feeling of the dandelion.”

She knows it’s easy to be cynical about celebrities trying their hand in the art world. At 65, she’s heard all the whispers: “Everybody feels like, well, ’cause she’s old, and she’s too old to be a sex symbol anymore. And she’s too old to do that. So, we can dismiss her into her painting thing.”

The reaction so far has been far from negative. Last year, Stone was invited to have a gallery show in Los Angeles. Then came a show called “Welcome to My Garden,” currently on view at the C. Parker Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The shows have excited both critics and collectors. Her works are now selling for tens of thousands of dollars. It is now, she says, a full-on business, though one created by accident. “I didn’t have any real intentions, except just following my passion,” she said.

Sharon Stone at work.

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Cowan asked, “Does it matter whether they’re buying it because they love the work, or because it’s Sharon Stone, the actress? Does it matter to you?”

“People come to see my art now, first, just ’cause it’s me,” Stone said. “But I feel just fine about that, because I’ve earned being me. But no, I’m totally comfortable. If you want to buy my work because it matches your sofa … know what I mean? No, I’m totally good with that.”

“Protection, Peace, and Power” by Sharon Stone. Acrylic on canvas. On display in the exhibit “Sharon Stone: Welcome to My Garden,” at the C. Parker Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

CBS News

When she hit it big in the ’90s with movies like “Basic Instinct,” it was pretty clear there was more to Stone than just her looks. She proved she could hold her own against the likes of Gene Hackman in the western “The Quick and the Dead.” And there were few chip fits like the one Stone threw in Martin Scorsese’s “Casino.” That role got her an Oscar nomination. But Stone says, even back then, acting was only a small piece of her personal puzzle. “Everybody told me to stay in my lane, and my lanes started to just get so narrow,” she said. “I don’t think I’m just an actress, or a writer, or a painter. I think I’m just an artist.”

The last time “Sunday Morning” met with Stone was back in 2018, and given the severity of the brain hemorrhage that she told us she’d suffered two decades ago, it’s actually a miracle Stone’s doing anything, let alone painting. It had affected her speech, her hearing, her walking. “There was about a 5% chance of me living,” she explained.

Sharon Stone on second chances


Fast forward to 2020, during the pandemic a friend of Stone’s gave her a paint-by-numbers kit, and she found herself at an easel in her bedroom. She posted the result on Instagram, noting: “It actually looks like something, which I find completely remarkable.”

“I did the paint-by-numbers with a lot of diligence because I wanted to get my brush strokes together,” she said. “To have the brush strokes perfect and flawless is a really painstaking, irritating, complicated exercise. It really is a pain in the ass.”

But that posterior painting pain did awaken something very familiar: Stone has actually been painting for most of her life. She started as a young girl growing up in rural Pennsylvania, where her aunt taught her almost everything she knew. When asked for a piece of painting advice she learned from her, Stone said, “I think just that, you’re not wrong. There is no wrong.”

She has her own advice as well: “You don’t want people to ever really totally figure out a painting.”

While attending Edinboro University of Pennsylvania on a writing scholarship, Stone not only majored in art, but made art to support herself, living the life of a starving artist. “I sold every painting I made,” she said. “I mean, I was selling them for, like, twenty-five bucks when I was in college, just to eat.”

To watch her work all these years later is to watch someone in an almost trance-like state, open to whatever moves her.

“I feel what’s coming through the canvas here now,” she said. “It’s okay to not know, you know, and it’s also okay to go with not knowing. I’m letting it evolve and tell me what it wants to be….”

“I think if you listen to the highest consciousness and follow that voice, how do you go wrong with that?” Stone asked.

Works by Sharon Stone on display. 

CBS News

Paintings in a back room of her Beverly Hills home are being prepared to be shipped to Berlin, where Stone will open her very first international show next month.

She’s certainly not done with acting, but for now at least Sharon Stone has traded the red carpet for a palette with every color under the sun.

“I do it because I’m fully and wholly immersed in it, and I love it, and I have to,” she said. “‘Cause I’d rather do it than anything else.”


Sharon Stone

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Story produced by Jay Kernis. Editor: Mike Levine. 

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