As we embark on a new year, I have been reflecting on my own experiences in 2017. For me, it was a year of successes and failures, loss of family and friends, of joys and pains. Upon reflection, however, it was the kind of year that is the stuff of life, good times and bad, trials and triumphs. How we face life’s challenges and move forward is what really matters.
I am inspired by a wonderful artist and friend, Shirley Shepherd. She is a delightful 80+ year old with feisty red hair and a personality to match. Shirley is kind and loving and passionate about life and her art.
Shirley is a native of Charleston, West Virginia and a longtime resident of Lawrenceville with her husband, David. Primarily a self-taught artist, she began her art training in the early 70’s working in oils under the tutelage of fine artist Peggy Sullens in Lilburn, Georgia. Working full time and raising two children left little time for Shirley to explore her love of painting, but her passion for art persisted. Retirement allowed her the time she needed to approach her art in a more professional way.
In 1995 Shirley was introduced to watercolor by a friend, and she fell in love with the boldness of color and the fluidity of working with watercolor. Studying with Lynn Weisbach of Roswell, Georgia she was introduced to several forms of water media. With her love of color and excitement for mastering new techniques, Shirley succeeded in becoming a Signature Member of the Georgia Watercolor Society. Shirley has won a number of awards in state and regional competitions in addition to completing many commissioned pieces.
When asked what is her favorite medium, Shirley is quick to answer “collage” because she says “it allows me the freedom to do most anything I want.” In the creation of her beautiful collages, Shirley uses acrylics, along with a collection of papers, gesso, and other natural components. Because she does such an amazing job of combining these elements into artwork, she is often asked: “how do you decide what to do?” To which she responds, “I let the papers speak to me.” Although that may sound a little crazy, Shirley has developed a keen sense of intuition, which allows her to see and use texture, color and all the other components she uses to create her truly amazing collages. Shirley enjoys creating new and exciting pieces which she
purposefully designs to interact with the human spirit in each of us.
When asked “What do you want people to know and remember about you as an artist?” Shirley shared that because she has so much to be grateful for in her life, she is a humble person, who likes to spread love and joy through her art and her interactions with people, because “isn’t that really why we’re here, to share love and to be loved”?
Perhaps we can all begin 2018 with a resolution that mirrors Shirley’s mission, to follow our passions in life and to share love all along the way! Carolyn Wright is an Atlanta native and resident of Snellville, Georgia since 1987. Carolyn describes herself as a lover of art, world traveler and a student of life. She and her sister Sylvia Culberson own The LONA Gallery located on the square in Historic Downtown Lawrenceville.
Carolyn Wright is an Atlanta native and resident of Snellville, Georgia since 1987. Carolyn describes herself as a lover of art, world traveler and a student of life. She and her sister Sylvia Culberson own The LONA Gallery located on the square in Historic Downtown Lawrenceville.