Monday, June 27, 2011

Artist Interview with Shana Squier

24"x24" gallery wrapped acrylic on canvas

Where are you from and what is it that you do?

I am originally from Seattle, Washington, and moved to Oahu, Hawaii 11 years ago. When I moved to the islands my art developed an “island style” theme, which has blossomed into my own original style over the years. I consider Hawaii my true home, where I found myself, where my artistic nature came to life, and additionally where I started selling and showing my work. The Hawaiian landscapes and natural landforms have been major inspirations in my work. The abstract nature of flowing lava on the Big Island of Hawaii translates into my red lava series by pouring layers of paint on the canvas and tipping it in various directions. I have sat and studied the shore break on the north shore of Oahu hour after hour and what I’ve seen is splashes of every shade of aqua, green, gold, and white, along with free flowing waves. The power and beauty of mother nature is a big motivator for me to create art. In my surf and wave series I use acrylic watered down and splatter it on the canvas to depict wave backwash. Much of my work is abstractions of nature. From Hawaiian rainbows, waves, and lava flows. 

I work as a soils tester as my day job and live painter at a local Waikiki gallery Monday and every other Friday night as a live painter. I have been selling my work there steadily the last two years, and received several commissions. 

  24"x48" acrylic on treated wood panel

How long do you typically work in one sitting? Do you need to take lots of breaks or do you work hours at a time?

When I work from my home studio the time I spend in one sitting varies depending on what medium I am working with. When I work abstractly with acrylic and water I spend 1-2 hours on several pieces at a time. When I work on a detailed oil painting I spend 2-3 hours in one sitting. It helps to take breaks in between to stretch or get a drink of water because I get so focused and lost in my work my muscles tense and I don’t even realize it. It also adds to my work to take a few steps back and study the painting from far away. If I sit too close the whole time my painting is distorted in the end. I think I create more “believable” art if I am constantly moving and constantly looking.

16"x20" gallery wrapped acrylic on canvas

Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?

In 5-10 years I would LOVE to be a full time artist. At this present moment I am about 25% to the goal, but still depend on my day job to pay the bills. (It’s very expensive to live in Hawaii). I have dreams of being well known, to travel the world and have my work positively affect others. I’d like to build my own studio someday with a garden and hammock in the back yard. I think it would be so soothing to take a break from painting to lay in the hammock and breathe in the scent of mint and lemon trees growing in the garden. 
I think another aspect of an accomplished artists life is travel. Seeing other places and exploring other cultures will help me mature as an artist. 

24"x36" gallery wrapped oil on canvas

Were you interested in art as a child? What sort of things did you create?

I have always been interested in art, especially as a child. I remember having a very vivid imagination. I played in the woods behind the school with small plastic frog toys and pretended I was a frog that could talk with my frog family. I went to a private art school in Seattle and started watercolor painting, drawing and playing the violin. I loved and was obsessed with mermaids. I wanted to be one, so I drew hundreds of them. I remember wanting to be in a fairy tale, to be something non-human, to live in a different world. I think creating art is my fulfillment for that dream, because it IS like being in another world when I am in middle of creating something. 

36" x48" original oil on stretched canvas

Take us through a typical day in your world.

A typical day for me is very full. I have been in school the past four years working on a degree in art, along with working my day job and live painting at the Waikiki gallery. I wake up around 6:30 am, eat breakfast and answer emails, check my Etsy shop, post new work there and on my blog. My watercolor class is from 9-11:45 Monday through Friday. After class I grab a quick lunch and start work as a soils tester. Then grab some dinner (finding food I can eat is another full time job, as I am allergic to wheat, dairy, apples, almonds, olives, and cottonseed oil) and head home to walk my dog, work on art prints, paintings, and getting work ready for the gallery. I have to come prepared to live paint, which means I work on a particular painting for a few hours so that I don’t show up with a blank canvas. It helps sales to have a piece halfway done so that customers can see what the end result may be.

Visit Shana's shop at and her blog at Thank you for a great interview, Shana!


  1. Thank you so much for interviewing me! It was a pleasure.

  2. lovely! I really like Raging Waimea

  3. Cool design! I Love it!artistic! EPSON can make this more fascinating and high quality in terms of Photo prints for its high standards. Thank you.