Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Gurley O’Donnell.
Shannon, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I never considered myself an artist (in our family, my brother was “the artist,” and I was “the brain,” lol!). I started painting in my 20’s for fun and realized I had a gift for it. From then on, I began taking art classes on the side while working in the corporate arena. Next chapter was enjoying marriage and family life, raising my kids and homeschooling. And then a few years ago, I realized I wanted to take it to the next level and started painting professionally as my kids got older and I had more free time (my family still comes first).
I have always felt connected to nature and life. My artwork is diverse, both in size and subject. Sometimes I enjoy painting very loose abstracts. Other times, tighter, more realistic paintings. I paint a lot of nature. I usually paint from photos, although I never consider myself one who paints in a realistic style. Mine is more “-ish.” I use the photo as a reference and then go wherever it takes me.
When I’m painting, time goes away. I’ll look up and realize I’ve been painting for hours. It fills my soul. When others connect with my work, the circle feels even more complete.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My mediums are watercolor, oil, pastels, and some mixed media. I paint a lot of nature, but I also enjoy painting loose abstracts, nudes, still lifes, portraits, and more. I often ask whatever I’m painting to come through me and direct me as to how it would like to be painted. Sometimes I can feel myself being guided with certain brushstrokes. Other times, I’m simply painting.
I paint with joy and love. When someone connects with my work, I know that something in it resonates with their soul. It’s like connecting with an author. I hear time and again from people who love my work that they love all my work. There’s a connection. And yes, I love it. I love knowing that others are touched by my art. My goal when I paint is for others to be touched at a deep level. It’s about connection and healing. Love. Sometimes things I paint take others back to moments in their childhood. Others, to mysterious places that only their souls recognize. But there’s a sense of recognition. And peace. Delight. Wonder.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
When I was spending more time being a mom than an artist, a lovely woman came up to me and told me never to be afraid to let my painting go at times when needed. She told me that it would be waiting for me when I was ready to return. I’d be deeper, and my painting would be deeper and richer as well. I found that to be true.
The main thing I have to remember is to not quit. Sometimes I go through times when it seems like nothing really clicks. My paintings feel kind of “ehhh…” But then, all the sudden I’ll paint something that is like, “WOW!!!” The dry spells are hard to get through. I’ve gone through them. They seem like they’ll never pass. But they do.
I was also told by a teacher not to judge my painting until it’s done. In their early stages, many look positively awful. Hopeless. But by the end, they are amazing.
I have learned to enjoy my work. When a painting turns out well, I can appreciate its beauty and not have to pretend that I don’t out of some sense of false humility. To me, genuine humility now is being able to appreciate my successes and not be harsh with myself when something doesn’t turn out as well as I hoped or thought it would.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I keep my Facebook page, “Paintings by Shannon Gurley O’Donnell” and my Instagram “Paintings_by_Shannon” updated more than my website as because I paint A LOT (my website takes a lot more effort to add paintings).
My work can be seen at Gilbert Ortega Gallery on the NE corner of Main and Scottsdale Rd. in Scottsdale, AZ; ART123 Gallery in Gallup, NM; Our Mountain Home Gallery in Williams, AZ; and throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area as I show regularly with the Scottsdale Artists League, the AZ Artists Guild, and the AZ Art Alliance.
Many of my paintings sell very quickly online (something I’m very grateful for!) If people are interested in my work and would like to purchase a piece, their best bet is to follow me on Facebook and Instagram and message me if they are interested. I always show the dimensions, medium, and price.
- Address: Shannon Gurley O’Donnell
- Website: www.paintingsbyshannon.com
- Phone: 602-615-0649
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Paintings_by_Shannon
- Facebook: Paintings by Shannon Gurley O’Donnell