Saturday, September 26, 2015
If you would've asked me at the start of this year what life had in store for me, I sure never would've guessed where I'd be now. That simple Sunday drive earlier this spring that had us stumbling upon a forgotten "For Sale" sign, the roller coaster of trying to sell our farm, the heartbreak and anxiety that comes with offers falling through, the impossible hopeless feeling of having to wait through four months of unknown outcomes, it all leads to this happy statement of: The new farm will be ours soon! In just a couple weeks we will finally close on seventy-five acres of pure bliss. A long, long driveway, a creek, woods, and lots of solitude and wilderness to hunker down in.
Something I'm looking especially forward to is the fact that I get a large studio space. A very large, only for me, studio space. I've got big goals to work toward in that space. It will be splendid.
We should be closing on my daughter's birthday which adds a bit of extra specialness to the whole transaction.
So here's to a future full of new art, a large garden, and lots of additional livestock to add to the mix. I can't wait. Excited doesn't even begin to cover the level of happiness that is coursing through my veins.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Almost two years ago now, I got the wonderful opportunity to interview an artist whose paintings often make my heart catch in my chest. Quite a bit has changed in his world since that time, and he's graciously agreed to let me interview him once again with a whole fresh batch of questions. So without further introduction by me, here is a second interview with John W. Shanabrook, complete with some of his more recent work to illustrate the post:
1. I write "Once Upon a Time" type stories about the dream life I long for. What would your "Once Upon a Time" consist of?
A small, bright, and quiet house on the shortgrass prairie of Eastern New Mexico.
|"A Grocer's, a dark day, a song"|
2. Can you give me some insight into where your wonderful titles come from?
That’s a good question, Julia, especially because I don’t really know. It’s a little mysterious, a little ghostly. I think of my mind as wandering through an attic of association and implication and feeling, picking up and discarding odd objects and remembrances and quotations and words until what it holds in its mental hands are, suddenly, resonant and poetry.
|"Comes a Dark Hero with a Dire Taste for Gunpowder Dramatics"|
3. The places you paint, are they memories, places you've read about, or just from your imagination (or a combination of all three)?
These landscapes are essentially what my heart makes of what I’ve known, of what I might long for, and of what sometimes happens unexpectedly at three in the morning.
4. What do you think people would be surprised to learn about you?
Five years ago, a medical school in Ohio offered me a place in their class of 2010.
5. Do you have any artists you're currently admiring?
I don’t know why it is, but admiration’s something I’ve never been very good at.
6. Where do you spend time online? What sites do you gawk at or read, if any?
I try to stay away from the Internet for entertainment, using it only for my painting and for buying things I need. I’m not always successful, but it terrifies me how much time I can spend online to no real purpose otherwise.
|"Night to the Plateau"|
7. What's your favorite season and why?
Summer, to be sure, because summer is warmth and warmth is freedom. There’s certainly more poetry in fall, winter, and spring, but there’s not as much life.
|"Plains Morning, Christmas"|
8. What is your favorite book?
This is a question I could never answer. If you were to ask me to name the one book I’d take with me to a desert island, I’d probably just ask for paper and pencil so I could write my own.
9. Do you work in any mediums besides oil? Is there any medium you've wanted to try?
Just oil. Oil paint and words. I don’t know which I’m better at.
10. You said you didn't start out being an artist, tell me about what made you try painting. What made you stick with it?
I tried painting because one Christmas a very good friend of mine named Margaret surprised me with a packet of panels and a clever little painting box of Winsor & Newton paints and brushes. I stuck with painting because I’m a terribly sedulous and persevering and stubborn soul.
11. It's hard to find much about you out there—is the mystery purposeful or just coincidence?
It’s pretty simple, really. All my life I’ve stayed out of the world.
|"The Pumpkin Field"|
12. What else should people know about you or your work?
My landscapes often surprise me into liking them. They sometimes seem to know far more about the world than I do.
|"To Go a Silver Journey"|
Find more of John's Work here:
Seminary Road on Etsy: seminaryroad.etsy.com
Wordpress Blog: jwshanabrook.wordpress.com
Previous Interview Here.
And a huge thanks to John for being kind enough to take the time to answer my questions.