Artists’ Incognito :: Shannon

I began this series with a goal in mind: to expose the creativity in people’s lives.  I saw women all around me with such talent and a passion for artistic things…and that inspired me.  I get that.  That’s who I am at my core, and there’s truly something special about finding people who march to the same beat of your drum.

The funny thing is, is that for so long I’ve thought, maybe I’m the only one?  Maybe it’s just me who views the world this way or who needs to express myself in this fashion?  But the older I get, the more I realize.  We all have creativity within us.  Some of us bottle it up.  Some of us let it overflow freely.  But it’s there.  And it takes its’ form in so many different ways.

I wanted to explore that.  I wanted to find out what creativity means for my real life friends and how they express that as stay-at-home moms, as career women, as jugglers of both.  I discovered a lot.  I’ve learned a lot.  And I’ve been so inspired.  I hope you have been too.

It is my hope and prayer that people’s perspectives are broadened through this series.  That you will take the time to notice what gets people’s eyes to light up when they talk about it.   And you will ask them about it.  There is a creative in all of us…we just have to find it.

Today is the last day of this artists’ incognito series.  And we couldn’t end on a better note.  Shannon is my mentor and a very dear friend who loves art and her family and our church.  She is one of the most merciful and loving people I know.  She makes me want to love more…

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1.) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Shannon, and if you have artistic genes in your family tree?

I am a “mum” (as you would say on your awesome blog) to 3 “schooners” (again…).  Brodie is 9, and my two daughters, Sutton and Scout, are 7 and 4.  My husband Beau is a pastor, and we just launched a new church plant here in Tulsa.  This is keeping us REALLY busy.  He’s been a pastor for 12 years, and this is the first time he’s been the head guy, so I spend a lot of time trying to manage the kids, dinnertimes, homework, practice schedules, etc., and yet I still try to maintain some of my hobbies that help to keep me sane.  Hobbies like prayer time, Bible reading, painting and running are what keep me a halfway decent wife and mother.

My dad’s mother was an artist, but I wasn’t very old when she died, and we weren’t very close, so I’m not sure how into art she was. Other than that, as far as I know, I’m the only other artist on either side.  Maybe there is another artist just waiting to come out of their shell… we’ll have to wait and see!

2.) When did you first discover your love of art?

Brodie was 2 and Sutton was 1 at the time and we were living in Memphis, Tennessee.  One day while picking up my kids from the nursery at church, I met Emily Ozier.  I didn’t know it at the time, but we would soon become fast friends.  Her and her husband began helping with our college ministry and I got to know Emily really well.  I soon discovered she was a wonderful artist.  I was absolutely enthralled with her art and the creative process and she encouraged me to give it a try.

I decided to take her up on her suggestion, and picked out a painting I liked and wanted to copy from a Southern Living magazine.  By the time I was done with it, it looked nothing like the original, but Beau {my husband} loved it.   And I had loved the experience.  I’ve hung onto that painting and keep it hung in my art room.  It’s terrible, but I absolutely love it and it reminds me of when I first began this journey.

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{Shannon’s first painting hangs in her art room.}

3.) Who gave you the confidence to keep discovering and growing with your art?

Beau.  Tommy Nelson, our old pastor, once told the young husbands of the church, “Always support your wife’s hobbies.  Make sure you give her the money and the time that she needs to pursue the things God has gifted her to do..” Beau has really taken that to heart and done that for me.  One Christmas, he surprised me by turning a spare storage room we had upstairs into an art room for me.  He hung wall sconces with candles and bought me an easel and paints and brushes.  He had it all set up for me and it was just the best moment to walk into that room he had so carefully put together for me.   He also proudly hangs one of the first paintings I ever did in his office…Yes.  He’s definitely been my biggest confidence booster.

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4.) What are some of your favorite methods and tools you use?

Well, I started out buying 42-cent paints from Wal Mart and I still use them and love them.  They are cheaper because they’re watered down and not thick like pricier Windsor Newton paints I also like.   The thicker the paints are, the further they’ll go and when they dry, they harden with beautiful texture.

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Here are my paints and my go-to supplies…

|Paints|

Windsor Newton

Galeria

System 3

|Tools|

Gloss Varnish – for finishing and protecting.

Water Bottle – for aging and smudging.

Rags – for smudging and distressing.

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 5.) Who or what inspires you?

I love coming into my art room with a blank slate and having no other objective than to create.  Not painting a certain look for a specific bedroom or fulfilling orders.  Just being inspired by simple things…like the color combinations on my paint palette.  That’s my favorite!  I also love pinning art on pinterest and copying some of my favorites.  I even came across one quote from Pablo Picasso on pinterest and it expressed exactly how I feel about art…

 

Isn’t that great?

6.) How do you find the time to fit art into your life with 3 kiddos and a church plant under your belt?

I’ve learned to just not be in a hurry.  It will take months for me to finish a piece, typically, and I only have bits and pieces of time that I can sit down and put into it.  But I enjoy it, so I find time to make it happen.

7.) Who is your favorite artist?

Emily Ozier.  My friend who first encouraged me to try my hand at art.  She is absolutely amazing!  You can view her art here:  http://www.emyoart.com/#

8.) How do you think God uses art to touch people’s lives?  Do you have any firsthand experiences?

God is the ultimate artist.  That’s what Genesis 1 and 2 is all about, right?  God created… and saw that is was good.  This happened over and over again.  I believe that God wants all of us to have child-like wonder and awe at the things he has made, and He has put creativity into all of us… this is why I love your blog so much- you’re searching for the creativity in the everyday!  I believe that art- whether it be music, paintings, sculptures, poetry, music, writing, or whatever… all of it makes us see the world a little differently.  It causes the world to have color and grandeur and tapestries and layers that we would otherwise never see…. So when we experience art, I believe we are drawn in to who God is and what He is all about, and we can appreciate Him more.

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9.) Where would you like to see art taking you in the future?

Like I said earlier, I like to paint because it is fun, and because it is good for my soul.  I’ve sold paintings, and I’ve done comission-type work for people, and what I’ve found is that when I am trying to finish a painting because I have a deadline, it doesn’t satisfy the craving in my soul to simply create out of sheer joy. Therefore, I probably will never be a famous artist, and I’ll probably never make much money doing it, because I don’t want my work to be forced, and I don’t want it to stop feeding the craving of my heart to create out of love.  And you know what?  That’s OK with me.  God gives us enough.  And when I am in His will, and doing what He wants me to do, it is there that my satisfaction and joy culminate in contentment.  And I believe that if I pursue my joy in Him above all things, He is most glorified, and my purpose in life becomes more real.  And it is then that my paintings take on the depth and the richness that I’m looking for, whether other people see it or not.

10.) If people could take away one thing from viewing your pieces, what would you want it to be?

That the abstractness of the pieces lends itself to wonder… I don’t like naming my pieces or even describing what it is I see, because to me, my art is like looking at the clouds in the sky- I think that each person is going to see something different.   And what is that I want people to see?  One thing, and one thing only.  That God is a wonderful, creative, awesome God who loves His people, and He wants His people to be filled with joy and wonder at the good things He has given to us.  In a word, I just want people to be blessed by my work.  If they are filled with a sense of awe at the great Creator, then He has used me for His glory.  That’s all I want.

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