shay herring clanton
homeworkexhibitions / contact


Shay Herring Clanton was born in 1953 in Birmingham, Alabama, the eldest of five children. She grew up in North Alabama and returns there often to her family land near Maysville. She now lives with her husband, Kim Clanton, a glassblower, and her son, Kim Bass Clanton, in Marble Valley near Deerfield Virginia where she maintains her studio. Shay received a BA from Mary Baldwin College with a combined major in studio and art history and an MFA from James Madison University in drawing and painting .She teaches drawing ,painting and design at Mary Baldwin College and also teaches watercolor workshops at Beverley Street Studio School.

Shay lived for 10 years on Hatteras Island, on the North Carolina Outer Banks, where she won recognition for her work in helping to create the Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve. She is currently involved in the movement to stop hydro-fracking and the construction of the fracked gas pipelines in the George Washington National Forest, which borders her home in Marble Valley. Shay is also a student of medical herbalism with a particular interest in native medicinal plants and the Southern Appalachian herbal tradition. Her land in Deerfield is managed as a botanical sanctuary called "Walker Mountain Botanical Sanctuary" and is part of the Botanical Sanctuary Network created by
United Plant Savers, an activist and educational non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the habitat of native medicinal plants.

In her paintings, inspired by the rivers and streams of her home in the mountains of rural Virginia, or the Alabama countryside of her birthplace, Shay seeks to capture what has informed her life long love of the natural world. In her abstracted watercolors of rivers and streams, she records her perception of a moment in time and the movement and flux of light, shadow and form. Her larger oil paintings are created in a slow process of applying layer after layer of paint while observing the changes of light and weather and season in a particular place over time so that the painting becomes less about the moment and more about a personal connection to place . The quality of light, in both a physical and a symbolic sense, is always an integral part of the work.


Shay Herring Clanton
65 Clayton Mill Rd.
Deerfield, VA 24432
Phone: 540 939 4738

Photo Credits

Large Watercolors, Watershed, & Herbarium by Brian Arthur - The Artful Image
Ponderosa Pine, Ponderosa Pines, White Pine
by Ellen Martin
All other photographs by Scott F. Smith,
Scott Smith Photography

BA with a combined major in Studio Art and Art History at Mary Baldwin College 1974

Completed course work towards a masters in Art History at Vanderbilt University 1974-1976

MFA in Drawing and Painting at James Madison University 2000

Additional Education

Foundations of Medical Herbalism 2007 to 2008 and continuing studies with Kathleen Maier, Sacred Plant Traditions, Charlottesville, Virginia

Southern Appalachian Traditional Herbal Medicine continuing studies with Phyllis Light, Southern Appalachian Herbal Traditions, Arab, Alabama

Botany for Artists Blue Ridge Community College, 2000

Nature Journaling Across the Curriculum with Claire Walker Leslie Mary Baldwin College Graduate Teacher Education, 2009

Teaching Experience

Graduate Teaching Assistantship (Drawing, Painting and Figure Drawing) James Madison University, 1997-2000

Visiting Artist, James Madison University Summer Program at Orkney Springs, Virginia

Visiting Artist Gifted and Talented Program Middle and High Schools Staunton,Virginia

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art, Mary Baldwin College (Basic Drawing, Basic Painting, Principles of Color and Design, Watercolor) 2000 to present

Beverley Street Studio School: Weekend Workshops in Watercolor Painting 2005 to present

Professional Committees

Standards Committee, Staunton Augusta Fine Arts Center, 2006-2009

Standards Committee , Beverley Street Studio School, 2009 to present
Selected Recent Exhibitions

Earth and Water, Solo exhibition of watercolors. Highland County Library, Monterey, Virginia. 2018

Womyn, Group exhibition of work by the Mary Baldwin University female art faculty. Mary Baldwin University. Spring, 2018

Earth and Water, Solo retrospective exhibition including new work. Staunton Augusta Arts Center. Fall, 2017

In the Field, Solo exhibition of new work, Beverley Street Studio School Gallery, Staunton, Virginia, 2016

Watershed: New Work by Shay Herring Clanton, Hunt Gallery, Mary Baldwin College, 2016

Creation and Motivation: Beverley Street Studio School Faculty and Their Students, Shenandoah Valley Art Center, 2015

The American Landscape, National Juried Exhibition, 2014

Drawings and Paintings by Shay Herring Clanton and Blown Glass by Kim Clanton, Fine Arts Gallery, Blue Ridge Community College

Beverley Street Studio School Faculty Exhibition, Fine Arts Gallery, Waynesboro, VA, 2013

Mary Baldwin College Faculty Exhibition, Blue Ridge Community Fine Arts Gallery, 2012

Paint and Glass, The Smith Center, Staunton Augusta Art Center, joint exhibition with Kim Clanton 2011

Paint and Glass, The Art Gallery, Norfolk, Virginia, joint exhibition with Kim Clanton, glass artist 2009

Artists and Place, Smith Center, Staunton Augusta Fine Arts Center, 2007

Water Media, Piedmont Community College, 2007

Faculty Exhibition , Mary Baldwin College, 2006

Minds Wide Open ,Women in the Arts, les Yeux de Monde Gallery, 2006

William King Regional Arts Center 2005

The Fractured Mirror; Imaging the Magic Tale, curated by Dina Ryan, Mary Baldwin College 2004

Staunton Fine Arts Center, joint exhibition with Bill Wallace ,Woodworker, 2004

Corporate Collections

Rockingham Memorial Hospital Harrisonburg, Virginia

Augusta Medical Center Staunton, Virginia