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Shirley Arrants won her first art competition at the age of fourteen. This recognition of her talent launched an avocation in commissioned art work.
Shirley's work in Western art reflects the influence of her early years in Montana. There she enjoyed hunting, fishing and hiking in the wilderness areas of the Rocky Mountain region. She started training and showing horses in Kalispell, Montana, an interest she has nurtured all her life.
Shirley paints the West because she loves and knows it. Her deepest interest is in authentic Western art with a special emphasis on the American Women. Interviews and location sketches augment the historical data she collects on trips throughout the United States.
Especially favoring pastels, her work reveals an exceptional ability in the use of warm earthy tones and subtle textures, together with an unusual technique and style. Her combination of inspiration and historical accuracy vividly illustrates her ability to capture and communicate the essense of the American tradition.
As a gifted and self-taught artist, Shirley has been the recipient of many awards. Widespread recognition enabled her to become a full time artist and private instructor. Her works are found in both private and public collections through out the United States, Canada and Europe.
Sally Waller, Instructor
Edmonds Community College
In 1980, art shows throughout the West discovered Shirley's unique sensitive portrayals of people, horses, wildlife and landscape. She won nine "Best of Show" awards in seven years at major art exhibitions. At "Quick Draw" events (a 30 minute painting demonstration) she creates her most popular works with pastels, allowing rich colors and softness of texture that best portray her favorite art subject, the subtle strength of women.
Shirley has owned three art galleries, all three also included a working studio portion to the gallery so that people could participate with the creation of an artwork. She is an artist for Leanin' Tree Publishing Company, "Bowhunter's Magazine", is a selected artist for The Franklin Mint, and is a Washington state Duck's Unlimited sponsor print artist. She is in the books American Artists of Renown, Contemporary Western Artists, and Personalities of America. She is a founding member and former Vice President of the American Artists of the Rockies Association (AARA) and a charter member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. She has numerous Best of Show, Peer, and Artist special awards.
Shirley is a member of the Pastel Society of America and has participated in juried competitions at the Pastel Society in New York. She has had one-woman exhibitions in Chicago, Sedona, Arizona, and Maui; has been featured on television talk shows in Des Moines, Iowa, and Kalispell, Montana; and has been involved in taped interviews with Montana State University. Shirley was a guest of President Reagan in the White House Executive Offices while compiling information regarding a large art project involving a women's history theme. The Governor of the state of Montana has been her guest at a special unveiling of her artwork.
Shirley was a scheduled instructor at Edmonds Community College in Edmonds, Washington in Pastel Painting classes as well as teaching "Women in the Western Experience". She is currently an instructor of pastel painting at the North Idaho College Workforce Training Center. She has lectured at the College during Women's History month as well as for the Food & Drug Administration of Washington, and has been a guest speaker at Chamber of Commerce functions.