it’s humbling

Artists work largely solo.  Ever since I started painting (almost 17 years ago), I knew I’d never not paint.  I knew it was something I would do for the rest of my life, because it is such a pleasant endeavor.
I didn’t expect people to ask to buy my paintings.  But once they did, it made me take different elements into consideration.  I knew I wanted them to be pleasing to the eye; nothing jarring or disconcerting.  I leave that to the young people from art school.  That’s their job.  My paintings had to be something I wanted to look at every day without being bored by them, too. If people were giving me hard earned money, they deserved something special.
Once I realized that people collecting my work meant that I could paint every day, that’s what I did, and I’ve been painting full time since 2007.
I can honestly say that I’ve never had a “block,” a lack of ideas for paintings.  Though, I will also admit that there have been many bad ones!  The “unsuccessful” pieces just get painted over, though, and very often those “remixes” became some of the most successful!  (NC Wyeth once encouraged his son Andrew Wyeth to “paint over” paintings, just because the underpainting did bring something je ne sais qua  to the second one.)
But you never know if a painting is a complete, successful piece until other people see it.  And when other people are affected by something I’ve created, it’s thrilling.  And humbling.
I have an incredible group of collectors who have multiple pieces of my work in their homes.  That is really humbling.
Think about it.  I am working on faith, with  inspiration from God, the skills He gave me, which I have honed, and I am creating images out of the ether that other people want to hang in their homes.  That’s pretty amazing.
So when I have collectors who share pictures with me of their “Carol Joy Shannon wall,” I am blown away.
I always want to create a way of looking at places that will make some synapses twinkle. It’s important that if you give me money, I give you something of real value, which will add to your life in some small way, every day, and in some big ways some days.  Art adds value to everything around it.  That’s my goal, anyway.
I have a big sign in my studio that says “why should I care?” which may sound callous, but it references the paintings.  The paintings coming out of my studio need to make you stop and look.  They need to evoke something.  They need to speak to something in you.  They should be “pretty” but they should also be interesting enough to get your attention.  Otherwise they are “décor” and you can buy them for $25 at Pier One.
In my living room is a 36 x 36″ beauty that I just love.  It’s more than a year old.  Usually, after a year on the circuit of shows and galleries, if a large painting like that hasn’t spoken to someone enough to take it to their home, I will give it the “remix” treatment.  But this one is still speaking to me.  It is telling me it needs to bring me pleasure for awhile.  And it does.  So when I am humbled by realizing others like my work enough to fill walls throughout their homes with it, I can sit back and forget the business of art, and remember the enjoyment my paintings brought me, when I first started doing this.
A little “slap up the side a the head” for myself. 
This is a photo I received.  These guys like to travel and have collected reproductions on canvas of their favorite cities.  I’ve painted 100 cities.  We added a special original to their collection recently, which was painted with much love, because I know them now.  They are part of a sort of family of mine.  The one piece of this endeavor I didn’t anticipate was how people really need art.  And what joy it brings them.

About Carol Joy Shannon

A former sailor of the seven seas, living in my beloved Lowcountry, between the blackwater swamps and the saltmarshes, surrounded by pre-revolutionary history.....thinking about current events....painting dinosaurs and other whimsical animals for children, with the occasional abstract or new cityscape for my delightful collectors. The best thing about being a seasoned old salt is sitting down not running around, so...
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