Artist Statement

Describing my art in words is the most difficult craft of my job. Producing successful oil paintings requires basic knowledge of composition, design, color theory, and materials, but to complete an inspirational or transformative painting requires more.  It calls for a mixture of vision, insight, mastery of the craft, and determination and is a process requiring both self-awareness and creativity.

I knew as a kindergartener wearing my Daddy’s old dress shirt buttoned up the back, facing the easel with a paintbrush in my hand and pots of color close by, this was an opportunity to enter a world apart.  A place of beauty awaits and invites me every time I stand at the easel. Luscious oil pigments and my paintbrushes carry me on a journey away from lists and schedules and spreadsheets, a place where I lose time, where my creative spirit is uninterrupted by ‘street noise’.

Inspired by light and color, florals and landscapes emerge on the canvas. I love to develop a composition to capture the changing light on the subject. Celebrations inspire figure paintings, often children showing off catch-of-the-day fish.  But abstract expression is my true love, coming from a special place within that requires the greatest devotion. It does not lend itself to schedules and interruptions. It is an evasive lover, requiring entry into a space truly unencumbered by the everyday world. And it brings the ultimate artistic joy in the end.

Artist Virginia Shirley in her studio.