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Wednesday, May 19, 2021


 Wow, I really liked 

"Still Standing"
and had really wanted that one to be the one that won the Siouxland Artist competition.

It's a beautiful watercolor, finely executed!  Look at the waves of grass just turning golden in the change of season.  A field once prosperous has slowly eroded and swoops wistfully into the woods at base of the hills.  The wonderous trees, some young, some old, reaching so eloquently to the sky.  Then the nestled structure tucked safely away at the edge of a forgotten field.  There it sits, still standing weathered by many years yet respected with care. 

I love the way Shannon has depicted the grass using warm soft colors and design.  Look how the composition gently rolls you into the picture.  And he has made that old wood look so real!  You can make out the blackened planks, the windows a top.  There is depth in the painting so that although you do not particularly see them, you can make out the hills in the background fully covered with trees and lit by a late afternoon sun.  Light-- yes, Shannon shows us that "sweet light". As a photographer also, he knows that there's magic in this time of day where the sun is setting but there's still this glow. 

And awe yes, I sentimentally note the "Shannon's green" and the consistent and beautiful way he creates his trees.  The way he creates folliage and flowers is not so evident in this painting but take a look at some of his other watercolors.  He's quite skillful in his preservation of whites and application of paint.

Aw, well.  "Just Another Day" is a great painting and it really is worthy regardless of the greater message "Still Standing" has for me.  

What message is that, you ask?  Well... I grew up on an old plot of land that was the dream of my father in ideal of being a farmer :). My father has been a self-employed craftsman designing and building, constructing... boat tops!  Wow, and grand they were!  But he had a dream and this 80-acre plot of land offered hope.

I, between the ages of youth and teen, wanted to build my own playhouse.  I eyed the old un-used chicken coop behind the abandoned schoolhouse on our land with vision!  But of course, I lacked the construction skills and was never able to materialize my playhouse/ art studio/ clubhouse/ haven!  

My dad hooked the old coop to tractor and off he dragged my dream to the center of the wooded area between the dump ditch, the sledding hill, and the creek that ran through the low valley of treed area and bluffs this poor man purchased to become grand fields of glory.  My dad!  I love my dad! That wooded area was my serenity in those years.  I wandered through and painted many a scene from our old farm.

My coop was now placed in my heaven.  Did I say... I love my dad!

So for me, "Still Standing" was my story.  It was painted by a man who did not know me before my 36th birthday, and by a man who would become my husband and my greatest friend!  Who knew!

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Shannanjen Studio