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Artistic Background

Originally from Oxfordshire, Shirley studied foundation art at Oxford Polytechnic and gained a BA Honours degree in Fine Art, Sculpture at Cheltenham Art College in 1985.

After her traditional education in sculpture she worked mainly from the human form and the life class, producing modelled figures, portrait busts and paintings from life and imagination. This was the starting point for her continued practice as a  portrait artist.

Her love of walking, woodland and the outdoors led to painting from landscape  when she moved to the North to attend a continued art studies course at Rochdale college in 1986. At this time she became an art tutor and gained an adult teaching certificate working for Rochdale and Calderdale Borough Councils until 1998. In 1998 she also gained an MA in Printmaking from Bradford University and commenced her current job at Henshaws Arts and Craft Centre in Knaresborough.

Teaching art for local councils and as a freelancer she facilitated others to make sculpture and was involved in the Sculpture Trail at Hebden Bridge for several years before undertaking residencies and showing her own work as part of the trail. 

Her present painting practice started when she moved to a smallholding in The Vale of York and was inspired by the surrounding countryside especially woodland and the trees at Escrick park. Over several years she painted landscapes, seascapes and portraits in the Yorkshire Wolds and  on visits to the South West of Ireland where she has family.


Shirley has work in private collections and has held exhibitions and open studio events throughout her career including the Hebden Bridge and York Open Studios.

She has exhibited her portraiture with The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, continues to paint commissioned portraits and can be hired to draw portraits at weddings and events.

Her current studio is at Briggate Art in Knaresborough and at home, where she continues to produce landscapes from the locality and where she painted the portraits for NHS Heroes.

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