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Shan Watters: a West Coast Artist and Author

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

Hi Shan, ( thank you for joining the Interview Series in the Creating Room. For our readers, we met through Lisa Mann’s (Fine Artist) Virtual Calm, Courage & Creativity class in abstract painting, which allowed us to meet since you live in California. Like many creatives, your work spans into other areas, which we'll touch on.

1. What do you remember about your creativity in childhood?

As a child I loved to create make-believe worlds and then plot stories and plays about them. I spent most of my time outdoors in my favorite oak tree imagining plots and fantastical creatures romping all about, singing songs and making mischief on my brothers. Even then color seemed to be a fascination for me, using it as a focal point of creation.

2. In our past abstract painting course with Fine Artist Lisa Mann, I asked if the mountains you created were of a real place. You answered, “yes, Tibet.” You then spoke about meeting with the people there. How do the Tibetan people inspire your art?

The Tibetan people always inspire me; they have and are suffering immensely from Communist occupation that resulted in over a million Tibetans being killed and six thousand monasteries destroyed. The Tibetan people remain peace loving, compassionate and very loving people. When I began meeting them, I knew they knew something I did not and it changed my life.

Now, having retired and moved from Los Angeles, I use my creative time for my own artwork and writing. Everything I do I consider how to benefit others. In my own life I am working towards self-expression while also incorporating the intention for it to benefit others. One way I am doing that with my books is by partnering with three organizations that do the service of providing reading material to women in incarceration. I am happy to say my books are finding their way into prison libraries all over the U. S. right now today through these organizations :

The Women's Prison Book Project / Minneapolis, MN

Claremont Forum Bookshop, Prison Library Project / Claremont, CA

Prisoners Literature Project / San Francisco, CA

In terms of my paintings, I am forming how to bring them into the world of service. It is something I consider all the time, especially since I have no real interest in selling or promoting my art for art’s sake. It is not so easy to turn our western model into a service model as individual expression is so powerful. I am finding that that, in itself is acceptable, and to transpire it further into the world of service is my goal.

—Interview written by Amanda L. Mottorn, © 2022, author of Finding Moksha: One Woman’s Path in Uncertain Times and Artist at Modern Moksha Designs & Publishing.

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