1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name’s Shealeen Louise, which means “from the fairy palace; warrior”. I think that name meanings are cool, It’s often one of the first questions I ask people about themselves, so I’m leading with that. (I also love to try to guess people’s birthdays when I first meet them. I guessed someone’s birthday right on the first try once, and I’ve been convinced ever since that I’m good at it… I’m not. That was a 1/365 fluke.)
Anyways, I was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM but I’ve lived in Nashville, TN since 2013. I first came here to pursue music with my sister, we had a band for 8 years called Poema. A couple of years ago she decided to move to Portland, and I ended up staying here and pursuing a career as a floral watercolor painter. I’m also a piano teacher, which is my other (not so public) passion.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I love nature, and I love light. I love being immersed in creation at every moment, in some way, shape, or form. I’ll always prefer natural beauty to anything artificial or manmade. I think my paintings reflect that love I have for nature.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
Watercolor. Something about the interaction of paint and water has always been magical to me. I love how light and free it is.
4. What is your artistic process like?
Since my paintings are very detailed and precise, I often need a visual reference. I most often take photos of things I see in nature, and come back and paint them later. I paint every day, always at the window in my bedroom. It’s definitely the place I have the most clarity and focus. Sometimes I’ll have a podcast or audiobook playing, but often I love to work with a window open and some white noise. I don’t know why. Maybe it makes me feel like I’m outside.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
Obviously the big one is flowers. I love flowers in their natural state, and i’ve always loved vintage field guides, and encyclopedia style botanical illustrations. I try to be inspired by creative forms that are different from my own. I love music, fashion, movies, and TV. (There’s a lot of high quality art being put out from a lot of different places.) But ultimately my love for God and his creation is my greatest inspiration. Painting is one of the ways I feel connected to him and connected to who I am.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
It really is huge. As I said, I paint nearly every day if I can. I rarely look at anything in nature without imagining how I would paint it, or how I could achieve a similar look with my paints. I’m mesmerized by the color and texture of this world.
7. Where did you study?
I didn’t study art or go to college actually. I started touring with my sister shortly after graduating high school, so school got put on the back-burner. As far as learning how to paint goes, my mom’s mom and my dad’s grandma were both painters (one oil, one watercolor). I was able to observe them as a kid, and I think I just naturally picked it up. I never questioned whether or not I could create like they did. I saw them painting so effortlessly, and somehow I knew that if I wanted to do that too I could. However, I do believe that there is so much value in learning and honing in on your craft. I’m grateful for a world with (seemingly) endless amounts of education and knowledge. Books, youtube tutorials, podcasts, online courses. I’ve learned a ton in these last few years.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself doing what I love, working towards dreams, and surrounded by loved ones.
9. What about in ten?
I hope I’m just surrounded by lots of kids and lots of happiness. Maybe some horses and a farm. I’m sure I’ll still be painting or creating in some form or another.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I deeply long to help people in a way that is tangible, and in a way that really matters. I am grateful that my artwork has, at times, opened the doors to some really special relationships and conversations. At the end of the day, people are what matter most in this world. And I hope I always remember that. Painting for a living can become (for me) very self-focused, and in times of unhealthiness has been used as a means of getting compliments, validation, identity, or a sense of value. Our egos can show up quickly when we focus on exposure, numbers, followers, or stats. I want my artwork to be an extension of that peace I carry in my heart for those who need it. I believe that when we make art for others, and when our desire is to serve, bless, or reflect love, we can create out of a place that’s much deeper, and we will have a career that has more longevity.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I love a Margherita pizza from this place in Nashville called Bella Napoli. That’s my spot. I also love Thai food.
12. Favourite book?
The Count of Monte Cristo. Maybe Les Mis. I honestly really love long-winded 19th century novels. I take most books in via audio-book so I can paint while I “read”. Don’t judge me — I definitely think audiobooks count as books.
13. Favourite genre of music?
I really love it all. I don’t like heavy music, but besides that I genuinely love and appreciate most types of music. If I had any preference, I guess I’d have to say I have always gravitated toward older music, (classical, 60s soul, 70s folk.) But I’m also a sucker for stadium bands like Coldplay and U2.
14. What are your hobbies?
I love running, listening to business/life-coaching podcasts, and pulling pranks (can that count as a hobby..?)
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A midwife or a counselor. Maybe a midwife for counselors… Or a counselor for midwives.