The Metro Scene

Shannon Abbott Art: An Expression of His Love

Artist Shannon Abbott


Shannon Abbott Art: An Expression of His Love

by Helen Herndon

Photography by Johanna Cosby Photography

“I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a big bow, white teeth and red lipstick,” that’s how my mother once described my childhood friend Shannon.

At the time that was my mom’s way of saying she’s a “good southern girl,” mannerly, outgoing, and appropriately “made up.” But that’s just one side of a good southern girl and flip the coin over and you’ll see Shannon Jordan Abbott is the whole package. For example, while Shannon and I had fun getting dolled up for Saturday night socials in college, we killed time on Sunday afternoons listening to country music, eating boiled peanuts and bass fishing. She’s just as at home in blue jeans and flannels as lipstick and pearls. These days Shannon is also as comfortable with a paint brush as she is a 20 gauge or a fishing rod. 

One of the things I love about Shannon is that very little has changed about her through the years: minus the big bow only, she’s as beautiful as ever, always wearing her big smile, and able to lift the mood in a room upon arrival. That’s one reason I had hoped to sit down in person for our interview. Even though a minor glitch (Covid-19) prevented us from getting together, she was kind enough to answer some questions I had about her latest passion.

We’ll start at the beginning for the sake of those who don’t already know her.

Shannon, what do you remember most about your childhood in Montgomery?

Growing up my childhood was very happy and full of good memories. My mother was amazing and made her job as a stay-at-home mom look deceivingly easy. As far as caring for me and my brother, she did it all, and was good at most everything she attempted. 

My father is a successful attorney and we have always had a close relationship. He is one of the most hardworking, loyal and charming men I have ever known.

I graduated from Jefferson Davis high school in 1989 and went onto the University of Alabama and graduated from Huntington College with a bachelor’s degree in History. In 1993 I moved to Birmingham and worked in the legal field for 14 years as a court reporter.

What inspired you to start painting?

I have always had a love and appreciation for all styles of art. While in college at Huntington some girlfriends and I went to Mose Tolliver’s home, where I purchased several of his amazing pieces of art. I still adore them today. I love the simplicity of his work. I never imagined my love for art would take me on a path to painting and much less abstracts.

My very first painting venture for profit started in 2017 with one of my best friends, Katherine Dekle Bauer who lives in Houston, Texas. We have been friends for almost 30 years, and both have a love for art. We decided we would work together and see what would happen. Our first art show was for the holidays at a home show and we sold over 200 pieces of art that we had created. We were beyond thrilled!

Why is painting important to you today?

I married when I was 34 and have two beautiful children, Reed (12) and Libby (10). After ten years of marriage, their father and I divorced. We have been very fortunate to maintain a very good friendship today. Our families were and are still very supportive. But the inner peace I was in search of comes from painting and my faith in God.

What medium and/or techniques do you use in your artwork?

When asked what techniques I use I most times laugh to myself because honestly, I use it all. I work with caulking for texture and lots of layers of paint. I use all types of finishes, as well as epoxy which is almost a glass-like sealant. I mostly use acrylics but also work with oil and acrylic pastels, and even been known to use interior wall paint sometimes.

Where can our readers find your artwork?

I have mostly accepted commissions for pieces and my art is shown on my Instagram account @ShannonAbbottArt and I hope to have a website in the future to sell my art online.

Currently my paintings can be seen and purchased at Dr. Andrea Nunes’ office in Liberty Park here in Vestavia. She has graciously allowed me to use her office as a studio for some of my art pieces.

Who inspires and supports you?

I have been blessed with other artist friends such as Susan Walker, Elizabeth Hubbard, Ruthie Carlson and Karen Rogers that have guided and supported me in my artwork.

The south has so many wonderfully talented artists who have influenced me. Ruthie Carlson, here in Montgomery, is one of my favorites. I love the pops of color Ruthie uses in her artwork.

I lacked a lot of confidence when I first started painting because I was concerned people would think less of me because I am self-taught. I have grown a lot in the last two years and have learned to accept my artwork as a product of my emotional and spiritual journey. 

I began painting to escape the noise of everyday life. I am so grateful to have this outlet and even more humbled for it to be appreciated by others. It is my hope that my art expresses the peace and love I have found in my faith. I see my art is an outpouring and expression of His love.

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