Shawna Powelson, teaches us how to question authority

The "Pod" Watercolor - by Shawna Powelson

"Water Lily" Watercolor - by Shawna Powelson

Paintings by Shawna Powelson are treasures. They are highly sought after and extremely desirable – at least for Todd and me. This is partly because there aren’t a whole lot of them. But another reason that we treasure them is that Shawna is Todd’s mom. Shawna is the matriarch to an amazingly artistic family, who is a painter herself. She started by taking oil painting classes when Todd was a baby. I don’t dare tell you how long ago that was, Todd might kill me. But you can judge for yourselves by how gray his beard has become. The mother of 8 children, and grandmother to 15, Shawna doesn’t paint every day. Her family keeps her so busy that she only finishes a handful of paintings per year. And each one is highly treasured by her family, the Provo/Orem art community where she lives and the various art groups to which she belongs.

"Sunflower" Watercolor - by Shawna Powelson

Shawna thinks the creative trait she passed onto her kids, most of whom are artists or have an artistic bent, is genetic. Her dad and uncle were painters. Shawna started her painting career with oil paint, but when Todd turned 2 she put all the oil paints away because of the mess and switched to water colors. And water color has held her attention since. She likes water color, because as she told me, “the water tells you what to do, if you tilt the paper, the water will run and decide what it wants to be.”

I want to talk specifically about “The Pods.” This is my very favorite Shawna Powelson painting. Shawna says she painted it in 2004, using the water colors like they were oil paints. Shawna has a rebellious side, and chose to do this painting with a black background because her art teacher said it could not be done in water color. She set out to prove her teacher wrong. Shawna also used a fine brush on this one, specifically because she was told to never ever use a fine brush on a water color. Yeah, we love the way you question authority, mom!

"Troy & Todd" Oil - by Shawna Powelson

Another image of Shawna’s that I am pretty crazy about is her painting of the back of a sunflower. That’s right, she painted its backside. This in one of a series of different views of a sunflower that hangs in her kitchen.

I also quite like the paintings Shawna made of her kids playing in the snow when they were small. These have a creepy, vintage, precious moments feeling to them that I absolutely love!

Well, that’s probably enough talking about the art. Lets just look at the art. And go Shawna! By the way, you can see her art at the Women’s Center in Provo.


  1. Hey, Anna!
    If she ever decides to make prints of her paintings, PLEASE let me know. I absolutely love the pod and the sunflower!!!
    p.s. See ya at Craft Sabbath 🙂


  2. So thrilled to see Shawna’s art and to read your commentary, Anna! It was wonderful meeting you at Beehive Bazaar! Congratulations, Shawna!


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