Shirley Phelan

Shirley came to painting after a career in banking. During a home renovation, she rediscovered her creative side and needed an outlet for it. Through several different forks in her path, she started studying art history at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, eventually earning a Master’s degree. It was in studio classes, especially a semester in Florence, she found oil painting and fell in love. Oil will always be her favorite medium, but she loves watercolor, oil pastel, charcoal, and mixed-media, just to name a few. She is a true art lover, both viewing and creating it. She has taken oil, watercolor, drawing, and ceramic classes at City College San Francisco, SF State, and the Academy of Art San Francisco, as well as a number of private drawing and painting studio classes. Her art, like the rest of her life, is eclectic. She has many interests, and her paintings reflect this. The inspiration for her work is the world that surrounds us. Although much of her education was focused on oil painting, she loves trying new things and experimenting with new mediums. In the “Remains of the Day” series, she paints the canvas with a palette knife to create a background that has no form. The results of this part of the process are often a surprise. Once the background is completed, she chooses a subject that connects with it. These subjects are painted in abstract silhouette. At times they are what emerges from the color and sometimes the color surrounds them. In the Genius Series she uses Mixed-Media to merge a watercolor foundation with ink, pastels, and collage to communicate the personality or background of the genius with their likeness.