Creating the logo of James Dean Lane was something really important to me, and knew I wanted it to be just right. The whole website design process and establishing the name of my blog has been a personal journey, surprise surprise! So I wanted the logo to encompass just as much meaning as everything else. When I look at the logo, it looks like my life – the most important parts in particular. I see the names of my children, surrounded by my two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, flecked by my favorite colors and elements of interior design.
I had a clear vision of what I wanted it to look like, and I knew I wanted a watercolor, but not an overly whimsical one. A very meticulous and intentional design. For the last four years, I’ve purchased our Christmas cards from Dixie Design Collective. Every design purchased except the first is by Shanna Masters Moczygemba . I’ve always been drawn to the elegance of her artwork, the preciseness of her drawings and her style seemed to be so similar to my own. I went “out on a limb” and sent her a message asking if she might possibly accept commissioned work. Much to my delight, she responded, and we took off from there. We connected instantly through the words on a screen, not only on style, but also on our faith – which is what I’ve enjoyed most about working with Shanna. She’s had a very successful career as an artist, and truly gives all the glory to God. Here are a few words from Shanna about the creative process behind her work, and life as an artist in the South.
When did you first recognize you had a talent for drawing?
All I recognized, from the time I was old enough hold a crayon or paint brush, was that I loved to draw and paint! It was the adults in my life, and my peers, who recognized talent. My parents said every schoolteacher I had begged them to enroll me in art classes. It was what others said that alerted me to the idea that maybe art was something I was good at doing.
Are you self taught, or do you have formal training?
Both. I started watercolor painting at the age of eight, through a class offered in the small town where I grew up. Unfortunately, it was more of an opportunity to paint, rather than technical instruction. I learned watercolor technique by studying books, and through trial and error. My maternal Grandmother painted in oil and watercolor, and was a huge influence and encouragement.
Is art something you studied in school, or was it more of a hobby while you pursued other subjects?
My degree is in Interior Environmental Design, but I did have some art courses as part of my curriculum. After college, sadly, my time was so limited that art was not even a hobby. I was so busy working, and studying for my licensing exam, that I did not paint or draw for several years. It was not until my husband suggested I create the artwork for our Christmas card, that I started painting again. That eventually led me to leave interior design, and realize my life-long dream of being an artist. I still cannot believe that I get to do this for a living!
Do your images reflect your personal style?
Absolutely! Everything I do filters through my mind, personal experiences, and hand. Even if I am painting a building from a photograph, it should be recognizable as my work. Each artist has their own unique style, which is what makes art so interesting!
What is most captivating to you about watercolor painting, versus other mediums?
I love the aesthetics of watercolor. I have painted in oil, acrylics, and gauche, but watercolor has a lightness, transparency and movement that other mediums do not. There are also many variables that affect the outcome of a watercolor painting, from materials to technique, which provides lots of opportunities for experimentation and growth.
Logo design is only a small part of what you do. Tell me about other projects that keep you busy?
Most of the commissions I receive are for exterior architectural or interior renderings; but I paint everything from vignettes, landscapes, crests and pet portraits, to artwork for personal stationery, invitations and wedding paper suites. Every workday is a new adventure, because every client and project are unique.
What companies are you currently collaborating with?
I have had the opportunity to work as one of the artists for Dixie Design Collective for the last three years. It has been so inspiring working with such a talented and creative group of women. I am amazed at how they turn my artwork into the most exquisite paper goods. What is even more amazing is seeing those items being used and enjoyed by Dixie’s customers!
When commissioned, what process do you use to really grasp the style of your client? (i. e. idea boards, personal photos)
I will often ask a client to provide photos or color swatches, to give me a sense of the design direction for their project. Most everyone can relate visually, so photographs and on-line resources (i.e. Pinterest) are good ways to help clients provide me with a heading. Phone conversations also help to ensure that we are on the same page.
In working with you, I quickly learned how rooted you are in your faith. What role has that played in your career as an artist?
The Lord is the reason I am an artist, so my faith is the driving force behind my work, and everything I do. He has given me every ability and gift I possess, and daily gives me the knowledge and wisdom to use them effectively. I am so incredibly blessed by the work He has gifted me to do, and I hope that joy is evident in everything I create.
What atmosphere allows you to be most creative? Do you work from home, paint or draw outside?
I am most inspired by travel and being outdoors. As much as I would love to paint outside, it is just not realistic in Texas (weather, insects, etc.)! My studio is in our home, so I do what I can day to day to make it as conducive to creativity as possible. It is light and bright, filled with family photos, inspirational images, scripture, and uplifting music.
Tell us about you! Where are you from? Are you married? Pets? What parts of a southern lifestyle and upbringing are you thankful for, still today?
I am a proud native Texan. My Texas roots run deep…I’m talking before it was a state! My sixth great grandfather was one of the defenders of the Alamo. My husband is also a native Texan. We met in third grade, but did not date until our senior year of high school. We both attended college in San Antonio, and were married there after graduation. My husband’s job brought us to Austin a few years ago, and we love the outdoor lifestyle here…except in August! We have an eighty-five-pound Goldendoodle named Bentley (if you follow my Instagram account, you know him well). I am thankful that I grew up in the same town where my parents were both born, and raised, which meant we always had lots of extended family around. The importance of family, and the close relationships we had/have is something I will always treasure. I am also thankful for the values my parents instilled in my sister and I, because they seem to be fading from society: good manners, respect for elders and others, thankfulness, contentment, and speaking words that build others up.
When you’re not painting, what are your favorite hobbies?
I love combing through shelter magazines and design books, word puzzles, yard work, baking, antiquing, visiting museums, hiking, kayaking, and my newest venture – fly fishing (per my husband’s urging).