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The Artist

Clarissa Shanahan is a professional encaustic painter living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has been offering VAWAA apprenticeships for about a year and has deeply enjoyed her time teaching students about her craft.

Although she only has a limited amount of time to teach her apprentices the art of encaustic painting, she tries to send them off with enough knowledge so that they can continue practicing and improving on their own....Read More.


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There are hints of high drama in many of Clarissa Shanahan’s paintings, beginning with her first mature works from around 2010. With titles like Asylum, Cliff, Phantom, and Haunted Tree, these modest-sized works, not more than 36 inches on the longest dimension, often suggest stage sets waiting for a latter-day Hitchcock or Kubrick to cue the actors and bring the whole scene to thrilling life. Her most recent series, “The Grand Tour,” based on a photo album found in a Rome market in 1982, imagines an epic journey on a more epic scale (up to 84 inches long), as a robust middle-aged woman travels through the Middle East in the 1930s. She looks to be having such a jolly time you could imagine a “Masterpiece Theater” series based on her adventures. 

Shanahan’s own journey to a kind of narrative painting that skips over recognizable forebears like Edward Hopper and Eric Fischl and arrives at something recognizably “filmic” began ....Read more

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VAWAA Follow the Rabbit Event Video

Panelist and New Artist, Event in NYC on July 18, 2018

Morning Feed Radio Interview

Morning Feed - Gtown Radio - Four Artists - Clarissa Shanahan, Sarah Bond, Sharon Kenney and Melissa Maddoni Haims
00:00 / 00:00
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R & F Paints Artist of the Month

Interview, February 2012



LM: Could you tell us a little about your background?

CS: Well, my background has been in the decorative arts - I began my career by studying at all the studios that I could find in NY.

I got a scholarship to study at the Isabel O'Neal Studio for the Art of the Painted Finish, where I also student taught gilding and gold leaf [another love of mine]. It was there that I really found a love of materials and learned that the more you understand your materials, the more freedom you have....Read more.

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Interview, March 2011

Encaustic painting, simply put, is painting with tinted beeswax. But it’s much more than that. An initial image is created, and then the wax is applied layer after layer, obscuring some parts of the picture, letting other parts stand out, ultimately creating a sense of depth and distance.

Clarissa worked on more than 20 movie and television productions, including “The Horse Whisperer,” “Meet Joe Black,” “Angels in America,” “Summer of Sam,” “Pollock” and “Boardwalk Empire.”

....Read more.

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