Shannon Grissom gives new meaning to the phrase “living life to its fullest.” She paints, she writes, she’s is a musician, and a TV show host, and a creative coach, and a children’s book author, an illustrator, a blogger, and the owner of several businesses, and “a granny by osmosis.”
And she weaves it all together, seamlessly, or so it appears. Where does she get her energy? It’s all about making time for the things we love according to Shannon. “It hurts me if I don’t do it,” she says. That’s why she gets up every single day, for the past 18 years, and paints.
Even when she would rather do something else? “I don’t allow that to happen,” says the San Jose native. “Rain or shine, grief or joy, I have picked up the brush almost daily…My creative time is really sacred. I might miss five times a year. I find I’m not healthy if I’m not painting.”
And she should know. She didn’t begin painting until she was 32. In fact, for the first part of her career, Shannon followed the path of a more traditional business path.
“I thought that’s what I needed to be immersed in,” she says. “I thought I was going to be a traffic analyst!”
But the artistic sense was always there for her, beneath the surface. Her mother, a music major, provided some of the inspiration. And once the spark was lit, Shannon moved to blend her musical talent with her love of the visual. She began oil painting, getting up early every day to paint. Within five years, she was able to leave her business career and move into an artistic career full time
Today, Shannon is the host of the award-winning television show “Give Your Walls Some Soul” which teaches tips and techniques for painting with soul and airs to millions of viewers in cities across the United States. Shannon is also in the pre-production phase of a new reality series.
Her children’s book, Monkey Made of Sockies, which she wrote and illustrated, celebrates the age-old favorite children’s comfort buddy — the sock monkey.
Why a sock monkey? When Shannon’s mother passed away, her sock monkey was passed on to Shannon. One day, while Shannon was painting, the sock monkey magically came to life on canvas. Then came the idea for the book, which has received the Parent-to-Parent Wisdom Award, honored by Disney.
Along with the book, Shannon has done a series of sock monkey paintings and has licensed the image to Daphne’s Headcovers to market sock monkey golf club headcovers with the help of LPGA Pro Leta Lindley. In tribute to Shannon’s mother, who was a special education teacher, a percentage of the profits are being donated to help kids with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder.
“So mom’s life came full circle,” says Shannon. “She’s still helping the kids.”
Like her mother, Shannon loves passing on knowledge to others. Through Intuitive Muse, she leads groups and retreats for people who want to “light a fire” under their creativity because, as Shannon says, her mission is to give people joy.
She recalls an older fellow who saw her TV show and contacted her. “He said, ‘I’m 80 and it’s my birthday and I want to know what kind of paint to get.’
He started painting. That was four years ago and he’s still painting.”
And then there’s Shannon’s music (her CD Hot Coffee Red Lipstick was recently released) and the novel she’s working on, which is inspired by her paintings.
By Shannon’s own admission, life is good. “I worked really hard to be this lucky’” she laughs, paraphrasing the famous quote by Lucille Ball.
“I’m driven to make this thing work. I don’t want to go back to the life I had before.”
Her advice to anyone who wonders if they too can pursue a life of creativity? “Make time for things you love. Don’t be afraid of what other people have to say.”
“Dreams don’t die,” says Shannon. ‘People do.”
Here are a few Videos by Shannon Grissom for your enjoyment!
Give Your Walls Some Soul: This Child Has Soul pt. 1
Give Your Walls Some Soul: This Child Has Soul pt. 2
All photos © Shannon Grissom