Artistic Excellence 2016 | Honorable Mention: Shana Levenson

New Mexico

Shana Levenson, Sibling Bond, oil, 36 x 24.

Shana Levenson, Sibling Bond, oil, 36 x 24.

What inspired your winning entry? After my divorce, I worried about how my children would handle the split. I discovered they were not only resilient but also found strength in each other. I was inspired to capture their strong bond in this piece.

How would you describe your style?
I guess I’m a realist. I try to paint honestly and capture the essence of what I’m painting.

How did you first get interested in art? It’s something I remember always doing. My older brother is an artist, and I wanted to do what he did. I walked around with a sketchbook, drawing everything I saw. I didn’t start painting with oils until 2006 and just kept experimenting until I wanted professional training.

What artists have influenced your work? My fiancé, David Kassan, is a huge influence. I don’t always want to hear his advice, but I appreciate it more than he realizes. I’m also greatly inspired by Katie O’Hagan, Dan Sprick, and Jennifer Balkan.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? If you paint something well, with truth and honesty, you will not only inspire others but also be successful in what you do.

What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? I was in a show presenting a painting I completed for my master’s thesis. It was a self-portrait in front of my easel, wearing my daughter’s tutu, crown, and fairy wings. I won best of show and sold the painting, and the couple who bought it sent me pictures of it hanging in their kitchen. I’ll never forget how amazing that felt.

When you’re not painting, what do you enjoy doing? My children are everything to me. I love attending their daily activities, even though I never pictured myself as a soccer or swim mom.

Where can collectors find your work?

This story was featured in the December 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  December 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook