Afternoon at Raleigh Market

Shirley Bell


A mixed media painting by contemporary artist, Shirley Bell. It measures 3" x 4 1/4" and the modern silver tone wood frame is 5 3/4" x 6 3/4". The artist signed in the lower right corner. 

About the Artist
Born in New Mexico, Shirley Bell's first impressions of nature were the expansive skies and soft prairie hues she saw daily during her early years on her grandparents' ranch. She has been a resident of Colorado, Arizona and Texas during adulthood. She began natural drawing around the age of 5 but art education was not available until she was 14 when her parents arranged for weekly art lessons with a local instructor as well as enrolling her in a home study course. From an early age she created mental pictures to go with every paragraph of text she read. "Every book I have read was fully illustrated whether or not it had pictures."

Further studies were at Howard Payne University, Brownwood, Texas and The University of Houston's College of Art and Architecture, Houston Texas. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1990 with a focus in studio painting and art history.

About the Work
Some of her work is public art but most of her work has found its way into residences and businesses across the USA, with a few pieces purchased by collectors in other parts of the world. Her original intaglio and woodcut prints were sold in the Love Texas Gallery in the San Antonio International Airport when she exhibited there for several years.

Landscapes are her favorite genre but occasionally wildlife, a still life, a seascape, or an architectural feature will find its way onto her easel.

She has traveled extensively in the Southwestern states of the USA. But there have been short trips to both east and west coasts; across north and south borders; and travels in central Europe all the while gathering reference material. She paints the landscapes she has experienced by using her sketches, reference material and notes on the lighting, season, climate, essence and aromas of the region. "When I am painting a landscape it is from a quiet, peaceful place in my mind so it is my desire that these paintings provide for my collectors also a place of tranquility where they can feel the stillness of time and take a mental and visual vacation from their busy lives."

About the Process
She has worked in printmaking, painting, photography and sculpture but in recent years she has discovered more freedom of expression through painting. She uses oils and watercolors for plein air painting, but uses oil, acrylics and pastels for studio painting. She usually begins with an abstract design then moves toward an impressionistic or representational painting.

Small paintings and miniatures provide her the joy and challenge of painting miles of vista onto a surface as small as 2 x 3 inches. With the exception of being a team participant on a couple of mural-size projects, her large works have not exceeded 38 x 50 inches. Regardless of the size, she usually works on several paintings at a time, putting each aside to incubate while rotating to work on the others. The paintings progress in three to five layers, sometimes more.

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