Rev. Dr. B. Kathleen Fannin grew up in a military family that moved often. She earned her B.A. in Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her Master of Theological Studies was received from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Her Doctor of Ministry was earned at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D. C. Her varied career includes time spent as a Park Ranger (Archaeologist) with the U.S. National Park Service, an economic developer, and a college chaplain. She is the author of seven books, including Paper Trail: Letters from the Civil War (2013), Reverence & Revelry: Remembering God at College (2009), Wonder & Other Life Skills: Spiritual Life Retreats for Young Adults Using the Creative Arts (2007), and Light Running: Poems for All Seasons (2010).
Fannin retired from the chaplaincy of Monmouth College in Monmouth, IL in May, 2010. Her primary plan for her retirement was to focus on writing, starting with turning letters from her great-great grandparents into a book. Research went well, connecting the letters to events during the Civil War, but when the research was completed, Fannin suddenly had a severe case of writer’s block. Knowing she had to do something creative to get things moving again, she decided to explore watercolor painting. Not quite one year later, she entered her first art show (May, 2012), sponsored by Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth, IL. Much to her joy and amazement, one of the pieces entered "Beside Still Waters" won Best of Class: Works on Paper. Fannin’s work is available for purchase in the BCA Artisan Gift Shop.
Subsequently, Fannin has created a website through Fine Art America (http://cattail.pixels.com/ ) which has sold several paintings, prints, and other items featuring her paintings. In March, 2014, a friend asked her to render a painting of the friend’s mother’s home in Dahinda, IL. It was very well-received—and when other friends saw it, they began asking for paintings of their houses too. To date, Fannin has completed thirteen house paintings, including the historic Holt House in Monmouth, IL. But she did not take up watercolors to become a house painter. Fannin’s favorite subjects are barns, wildlife, landscapes and seascapes; her favorite season to paint is winter. Many of her paintings have been reproduced as notecards and puzzles. She also creates a calendar each year featuring twelve of her watercolors. Recently Fannin successfully tried her hand at scratchboard, but her major focus continues to be watercolor.
Fannin lives with Jack, a felicitous feline, who encourages her work by periodically walking across the art table to nab a stray brush (thereby necessitating her use of a different brush) and helping her open boxes of new art materials when delivered by the postman. A connoisseur of fine art, he looks especially regal when reclining on a finished painting foolishly left unattended by his person-the-artist. Painting did help Fannin overcome her writer’s block, too. Paper Trail: Letters from the Civil War was published in May, 2013—just in time for the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3), a battle which is prominently featured in the book.