Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


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21 Days and One Year (of the Pandemic)

How’s everyone holding up? I’m getting antsy to get vaccinated. My region is opening up appointments in five year increments (started at 80+ years), Monday they opened it up to 70+ years. So… based on the timing of the last increment, I hopefully can book by the end of the month! Fingers crossed.

Until I get that first shot I am in limbo mentally. I can’t start making firm arrangements or accept one of my offers for schools abroad, until I am pretty sure I CAN travel in September. I figure once I get that first one I should be good to go, literally.

I took part in an open day for the post-grad program at the Arts University of Bournemouth last week – watched a recorded presentation, then there was a live Q&A. They inferred things will be “hybrid” in the Fall (all going well) – they were talking it up as something they’d been planning pre-pandemic. I’m not completely keen. I know it is a Masters and self-directed, but I like more personal contact and being in a setting with other people. I am so over working in my room alone! The course leader did put me in touch with a student from the US who is there now so I could chat with them about their experience travelling to the UK in February and how the program is going.

I also submitted an application to the Government of Ireland – International Education Scholarship last week. IT Sligo sent me the application – I’ve an offer from them for the BA (Hons) Fine Art. This is a very prestigious scheme – they choose 60 international students from countries other than EU/EEA and award:

  • A €10,000 stipend for one year’s study
  • A full fee waiver of all tuition and other registration costs at the higher education institution

Would be amazing to get that – makes it very, very close to a full-ride! They have a very stringent criteria and would be a huge honour to be chosen! Won’t know what happens until after June 1st. So, I will just not think about it and carry on with getting things done!

My last official day of classes here is April 16! I will still be working in the studio after that on my thesis project as the show, according to the latest update, won’t be held until June. So our professor has said we have time to continue work. That is comforting – I would have been able to be ready earlier, but the extra time allows me to complete more individual paintings to include in the installation.

But I do have to make a submission by May 15th for the BMO 1st ART! 2021 art competition -I’ve been nominated for it and it is for my thesis project! So I need to have it ready to photograph the week prior.

The Annual All-Student Juried Show is opening this week – April 1 to April 28. I put three works in: one from last semester (mixed media,) one from Fall 2019 (a diptych acrylic paintings,) and one that was my own project in 2019 (not school.) I am hoping I can get over there to take some photos of my work hung up. They are currently open for limited occupancy. I wouldn’t go until classes are done, so hopefully they’ll still be open to the public then.

Here are some recent paintings I’ve completed for my Thesis project (since my last post) on Threatened Species: West African Slender Snouted Crocodile, Elkhorn/Staghorn/Pillar Corals, Island Oak, Gooty Tarantula, Little Brown Bat, Great Hammerhead Shark, and a Polar Bear.

Hammerhead Sharks are the strangest looking creatures!

These two paintings are still in progress – a Mexican Wolf and a couple of Gilbert’s Potoroos:

And this is a shot of all 34 paintings that are completed or in-progress right now! I’ve an additional 12 small canvases prepped and ready, if I decide I want 52 to be in my final installation. I’ll see how much progress I make over the next four sessions in the studio then decide.

Our weather is settling to the unsettled spring pattern… frost in the morning and t-shirts in the afternoon. But it is so nice to get out for a walk in the sun – which is warm when you are out of the wind but that isn’t very often!


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Year One (of the Pandemic)

Well folks, it’s been 365 days since the W.H.O. declared the Covid-19/Coronavirus a Pandemic.

How are you doing? I survived a probable case of it (sick for three months last Spring/Summer) with no noticeable lasting effects that we know of – other than taking months to get my energy back and lose the aches and pains; saw some specialists with no discoveries of anything new. So that’s all good.

Now I’m just waiting to be able to get the vaccine. Hopefully soon as I have plans!

Last week I received an email from the Arts University of Bournemouth, who had offered me a spot in their MA Fine Arts course, informing me that they had awarded me a £5,000 Global Bursary! Very, very cool.

I am thinking about possibly deferring my offers for school this Fall though. I’m worried about the pandemic and the variants, and as I have absolutely zero interest in doing any further education online or in hybrid models, I think it might be the best option to just put it on hold for now. While I am getting the grades I want, I am not enjoying it. Art is a hands-on activity for me, not digital, and I am so, so tired of being on the computer day-in and day-out. This is supposed to be fun and it really isn’t.

Here are a few of my latest smaller paintings for my Threatened Species thesis project. That is ticking along well now that I’ve been able to get back in the studio. These are still in progress, but I’m getting there! We prepped the wall in the studio so I can start arranging everything – 8’x4′ is a heck of a lot more space than I was seeing in my mind’s eye! But I’ll use it.

These are 5×7″, 4×12″ and 6×6″. I’ll be starting on 8×10″ canvases next – I’ve got ten prepared with the backgrounds. Also, I was given four more smaller canvases so I’ll be adding them into the collection too. We’ve only got six more weeks until the end of the semester!

I’m getting a bit confused about our year end shows but I think the Thesis show for graduating students will be in June, and the annual all-student juried show is actually before the end of semester – I believe we were told we have to submit for April 1st. Semester isn’t over until April 16th. We haven’t received the information in writing so that’s why I am confused. usually these all happen after the end of semester. We also don’t know for sure if they are live AND virtual OR all virtual.

As we did not have the annual all-student juried show last year, due to lock-down, we all have completed work to submit for it without rushing to get things finished from this semester.

I’m having a hard time with accepting that in only 36 days I will be finished my program here, and have graduated. Wow. Doesn’t seem that much time has passed. But… it has been a very weird past year.