Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Letting the Paint Run: professor and art student talks about art process

Friday, November 13, 2020
Guiling describes his favorite painting. He described the lines, shapes, and colors in the picture.
Photo by Jowairia Khalid

On the first Friday of every month, the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri holds an art walk where participants can explore local art. Many times, the artist is also present to discuss their artwork with visitors.

On Friday, Nov. 6, Shawn Guilling, professor of psychology and student at Southeast had his artwork displayed at the Arts Council. As an art student, Guiling creates abstract art and sculptures.

Guilling has a fixed process of how he starts his paintings, yet he never has a set idea of how he wants his paintings to turn out. He lets the painting do whatever it wants.

“I basically take all the canvases outside, do a whole bunch of spray painting in all kinds of different colors, let that dry, lay it all out on newsprint, and then just start throwing paint at them essentially to see how the colors interact with each other, how they land,” Guilling said.

Guilling showed a painting where there were orange and blue lines that mimicked a sunset and a small canvas where the paint had separated to create an almost perfect circle.

Out of all the paintings in his gallery, Guilling’s favorite painting was one of his older pieces. He described it to have “crisp, abstract lines, different shapes, and colors.” Guilling said it shows the different layers of the painting that he added.

Guilling’s favorite medium is sculpture because he enjoys putting materials together in three dimensions. He said he one day hopes to recreate some of his abstract paintings into a “3D set of objects that can mimic some parts of these pictures.”

He said it can be difficult to have multiple jobs, which makes time management crucial.

“It takes a lot of planning. You have to budget, budget, budget for time to happen,” he said.

The Council of Arts is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are located at 16 N Spanish Street in Cape Girardeau.

For more information, call (573) 334-9233 or visit their website at