by Ten Bottemiller
Mrs. Shannon Parsons started working as an art teacher at Bellbrook High School this year. She teaches several art classes, including Drawing and Painting, Arts and Crafts, Art 1, and Art 2. “I taught printmaking for two years at Stivers School for the Arts and 7th Grade Art for three years at Middletown Middle School,” Parsons said. “I came to Bellbrook because I was very interested in the opportunity to teach High School courses where I can try some more advanced art projects.”
Due to her parents being in the Air Force, Parsons got to travel a lot as a kid. She lived anywhere from California to Germany until she graduated and moved to Ohio. As she started her art career, she went to display her work as far as Kyoto, Japan, and a little closer to home at the Springfield Museum of Art and the City of Dayton Mayor’s Office. Parsons’ biggest accomplishment is opening her own studio. “Getting my own art studio at the Dayton Society of Artists was a huge moment for me,” she said. “It’s allowed me to have a designated space to focus on my personal artwork, free from the distractions at home. Also, it’s wonderful to have an area where I can make a mess without worrying about having to clean it up all the time!”
Parsons grew up with art and loves seeing students have the same inspiration she had when she was younger. She enjoys watching her students “click,” as she puts it, where they unlock a new skill and put exactly what they want on the page. Parsons focuses a lot of her time on printmaking. “My concentration in college was printmaking, so a lot of my work revolves around that process. I love creating linocut prints because I really like the interesting marks you can achieve with that process.” Linocut is a type of woodcut printing that uses a sheet of linoleum for a relief surface.
Although very versed in printmaking, Parsons has taken the time to paint as well, including transferring some of her old prints to a painting. “Over the past few years, I’ve spent more time creating painted versions of some of my past prints or collaging prints and paintings together, which usually revolve around nature, leaves and floral imagery,” she said.
Even though she’s an art teacher, Parsons has trouble like any other artist. “Whenever I go through moments that I don’t know what to do, I always circle back to the beginning,” she said. She doesn’t let her art block get the better of her, frustrating as it may be. “I either work in my sketchbook or look back at old sketchbooks to help with inspiration. Often, I’ll have several works going at once. Sometimes a piece just needs time to breathe and when I step away and give it some space, it usually resolves itself in the end.”