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Sue Shanahan
Sue Shanahan has spent her career as an artist bringing children to life in her illustrations. In addition to contributing work to various children’s books and magazines, she has been commissioned by such clients as Walt Disney World and Auyrn Inc. Oprah Winfrey has purchased Sue’s art for her private collection and had her as a guest on her ”Favorite Things” show. Sue’s work has also found its way into the White House, where her portrait of Chelsea Clinton hung in the former First Lady’s study.

As a writer Sue’s blog, Commonplace Grace, is regularly featured in the Huffington Post.

Entries by Sue Shanahan

The Big Picture: Perspective Is Everything

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 4:18 PM

The Big Picture

"I'm like the painter with his nose to the canvas, fussing over details. Gazing from a distance, the reader sees the big picture." - Author Steven Saylor

My sister Ann passed away, without warning, on the morning of...

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I Once Knew a Girl Who Gave Up Thinking...

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 12:55 PM


The mind is a complete idiot. -- Dr. David R. Hawkins M.D., Ph.D.

I have a young friend who never ceases to amaze me. When Andrea and I first met, I took her soft-spokeness as mousy. Inside and out, she seemed pretty ordinary....

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Over the Rainbow: Your Life's Purpose

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 3:27 PM

(This illustration graced notecards I did as a gift for Maria Shriver's 50th birthday.)

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain

Everyone's life has a calling....

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Sojourner's Truth

(2) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 10:06 AM


"Every time God's children have thrown away fear in the pursuit of honesty, trying to communicate, understood or not -- miracles have happened." -- Duke Ellington

Whenever I think about the life of Sojourner Truth I'm inspired and amazed. She was...

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I Love You to the Moon and Back

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 9:13 AM


My love will always light your path

And guide you to the moon and back.

It greets you at the break of day

And whispers from the milky way.

- Sue Shanahan, Love You to the Moon & Back (2012)

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Keep Going: Harriet Tubman's Legacy

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 1:10 PM


"Don't ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going." -- Harriet Tubman

No one knows if Harriet Tubman really uttered these words, but there isn't any question that she lived them. Harriet was born into slavery and raised...

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Being Beautiful Is Not a Profession

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 4:30 PM


I learned very young that a woman's power came from her looks. Specifically, my beauty, or lack there of, was how my worth was measured. The straightness of my nose and thickness of my eyelashes were important but useless if I...

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Let it Snow: Hercules Couldn't Keep Me from My Son's Wedding

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 8:50 AM


Friday, January third, was my birthday. This year it was to be part of a bigger celebration. My husband Bob, our son Rob, his wife Emily and I were booked on an early morning flight from Chicago to Boston. We were...

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Hope in the New Year

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2013 | 5:20 PM

The pears in the drawing symbolize hope. The mocking bird is not only from Oprah's favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird but is the official State Bird of Mississippi.

"Hope makes the impossible possible." - Lorna Byrne

In 2001, I...

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Don't Waste the Miracle

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 9:32 AM


There's a spiritual energy that covers the earth during the holiday season. It's that undefinable "something" that makes people more selfless, more friendly and kind when December rolls around. As a child I learned it was called the Christmas spirit. Wise...

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For the Love of Grace

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 11:51 AM

"Blessed be childhood, which brings down something of heaven into the midst of our rough earthliness" -Henri Fredric Amiel


Grace of My Heart

The little girl in the above illustration is Grace Audrey McDonnell. She is...

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Home Is Where the Heart Is, and the Heart Never Really Leaves home

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 12:50 PM


The arms of love encompass you with your present, your past, your future, the arms of love gather you together. -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The concept for my above christmas card, Home for the Holidays, sprang from my daughter's imagination. Fresh from college, Bridget...

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Joy to the World

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 11:48 AM


Joy filled to the top and spilling over, that's what the holiday season brings. Since 2000, I've tried to capture that joy in a Christmas card I create in memory of my nephew. TJ, short for Timothy James, was so full of life...

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Your Children Are Not Your Children

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 1:55 PM


So valuable is the dignity of the human soul, that every member of the human race has a guardian from the moment the person is born." - Saint Jerome

At first glance, one would think the above painting is an artist's hope that...

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Time Well Spent

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 10:43 AM


Time together is time well spent, 
And time with our children is heaven sent.

- Author unknown, found on a vintage sampler

In the above painting, which is more endearing: the fairy or her habitat? No question in my...

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Falling Leaves and Letting Go

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2013 | 12:30 PM


"When I was willing to let go of what I wanted, I received what was truly mine. I've realized the latter is always the greater gift." - Anita Moorjani

Autumn is here, my favorite time of year. I love how the leaves...

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Divine Calling

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 4:43 PM


We all have a divine calling, a purpose we were born to fulfill. Afraid to let nature take its course with our dreams, we roll up our sleeves and map out our future. Step by step we're determined to make it happen....

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The Clock Is Ticking

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2013 | 2:43 PM

"The clock is ticking fast. Burn the candle large." - Diane Sawyer

I thought I'd be further along in my career as an artist by now. When I was a girl, I dreamed of the fruits of my talent being respected and...

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Silencing the Critic

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 12:29 PM


"The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely." ― C.G. Jung

Being considerate to others is encouraged. But what about being kind to ourselves? Somewhere along the way most of us learned self-compassion is self-indulgence. If we don't constantly reprimand ourselves,...

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Being Seen

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2013 | 9:22 AM

"There's something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk."
Drew Barrymore

There has been a lot of conversation about vulnerability thanks to a Ted Talk given by shame researcher, Brené Brown. Little did...

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