Shelby paints in a bold brush style that is uniquely her own. She became a full-time artist in 2005, and since then has traveled around the country painting in plein art competitions and teaching workshops. She was the 2011-12 Artist in Residence at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee and is a signature member of the American Impressionist Society and American Women Artists. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1981.

The neighborhood organizations provide so much to residents that it seemed oversimplified to choose just one thing each does. I created visual montages of services that struck me as especially important and left the greatest impression on my imagination. I drove through each neighborhood and photographed dozens of everyday scenes in an effort to capture the reality of those who live there.

Why art?

Art is a universal language that speaks to people without the use of words. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.

What do you hope people will feel when they see your work?

I paint what gives me joy, so I hope my work gives that joy back.

Who or what is the biggest influence on your art?

My grandmother, Lucille Ellsworth, and my teacher, Sister Thomasita Fessler from Cardinal Strich College, come to mind. Also, every painter I currently admire on the plein art painting circuit – there’s a lot of talent out there.

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