Video Interview

Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by my friend, California artist, Nicholas Wilton. It was a lively conversation via Skype that veered all over the map and lasted well over an hour. Nicholas was mostly interested in the long and winding road that I've traveled since 1992 when I made the decision to become a full-time painter. He teaches artist workshops and wanted to share my personal experiences with overcoming challenges. He writes the most insightful Blog posts.  If you have any interest in the creative journey, be sure to sign up. The video was distilled down to  3 most valuable minutes of what I had to say.  It's always strange to watch your own face talking online, especially on Skype LOL. Let me know what you think!
Shirley Williams Artist Headshot

Click the Link to Watch the Interview

 

 Shirley Williams Final Comp.mp4

 

Featured in Professional Artist Magazine

On December 31, New Years Eve, I opened the mail and was thrilled to see an article about me in Professional Artist Magazine (FEB/MARCH 2017 issue) Great way to begin 2017 !! See page 44 & 45 Through networking over the years, the publisher reached out to me. Someone had forwarded her my Blog Post 'Sip & Paint' night at the Art Gallery of WindsorProof in the value of Blogging! She thought it was a great idea for an article. They interviewed me via Skype and requested photos.  And voila! You never know right?!
Professional Artist cover containing Shirley Williams article

Shirley Williams featured in article about Paint & Sip at Art Gallery of Windsor

Fun night of 'Sip & Paint' at Shirley Williams Studio night

Participants at Shirley Williams studio 'Sip & Paint' night

Article about Shirley Williams in Professional Artist Magazine

Read the article Here

Blue painting on canvas by Shirley Williams

'Transformation' © Shirley Williams 12 x 12" featured in article

Happy Holidays 2016

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-10-21-19-amMerry Christmas  Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa & Merry Festivus For over 20 years, I celebrated the holidays by showing my appreciation to friends, family, and collectors by sending my hand painted cards.  Three years ago, I stopped painting them. There were health issues in my family that became a priority. After that, I never got back into the habit for various reasons. Friends and collectors often mention how much they look forward to receiving these cards. Many wonder why they're not receiving them any longer. I wouldn't want any of you thinking you've been put on the 'Naughty List'. screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-10-21-36-am Creating handmade cards was an enormous undertaking that would begin in early September. The process required creative, planning, preparation, painting, cutting, attaching, printing, writing messages and addressing. I'd work on them almost every day. The entire project would take me through to the end of December. Just before New Year, I'd sigh with contented relief as I dropped them in the mailbox. Although I've stopped sending greeting cards, I still appreciate each and every one of you.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you and your family a Safe & Happy Holiday Season & a prosperous 2017 !!

 

'Tis the Season' Holiday Group Show

The holiday season is always a blur of activity for everyone. In the midst of it all, I was invited to show a few pieces in a group show at SB Contemporary. It was called 'Tis the Season' and featured about 100 small works by various artists. The Opening night was packed. Lots of paintings quickly displayed those lovely red dots meaning SOLD. There were just so many wonderful artworks. I was thrilled that one of mine also sold that night, and is now in a new home. I am always humbled by the enthusiasm shown by fans of my work. To all of you, I can only offer my deepest appreciation for your support. You make it possible for me to continue expressing myself the best way I can - through my art. Wishing you all a very safe, happy and joyous holiday season and the very best that 2017 has to offer. 2016-12_sb-sold
'Beneath the Surface' encaustic on wood © ShirleyWilliamsArt 2016

'Beneath the Surface' encaustic on wood © ShirleyWilliamsArt 2016

With Sarah Beveridge, Director of SB Contemporary Gallery

With Sarah Beveridge, Director of SB Contemporary Gallery

Opening night at SB Contemporary Gallery

Opening night at SB Contemporary Gallery

         

Caesars Features One of My Paintings

Out of the blue last week, I got a call from the designer/art consultant Helena Ventrella. She needed an oversized painting right away, for a massive wall in Caesars Casino Windsor.

The Grand Opening Launch event for Caesar’s spectacular VIP Banquet room, ‘Augustus-27’ was scheduled for two nights later.

Abstract Painting by Shirley Williams,

'Forces of Nature' acrylic on canvas, 60 x 96 inches © Shirley Williams

I sent her some images and she emailed me right away with an approved choice. This was followed by a flurry of purchase orders and forms that the Casino requires.

Usually, any painting 6 x 4 feet or smaller, is simply loaded into my van and delivered to clients if they're in my area.

But this painting measures 6 x 8 feet ! Way too huge for my van. Fortunately, my trainer and helpful friend, Ben Graham, came to my rescue with his new truck.

 The painting was installed the next day after delivering it. The invitation to the VIP Launch Party was in my Inbox when I got back to the studio. I was pretty pumped.

Augustus-27 Launch

Augustus-27 Launch

  • The Augustus-27 Room is amazing!!
  • 30-foot high floor to ceiling windows
  • 360 degrees of view
  • breathtaking view of Canada (Windsor) & the US (Detroit) as far as the eye can see.
    Ambassador Bridge, Windsor & Detroit

    Ambassador Bridge, Windsor & Detroit

     
    View of Detroit, Michigan from Canadian side

    View of Detroit, Michigan from Canadian side

    View of Caesars Windsor & Detroit River

    View of Caesars Windsor & Detroit River

The Launch Party was fantastic! There was a definite buzz of electric excitement in the room!img_0744 Unfortunately, the lighting on my painting had a strong blue cast, which really washed out the colors. Oh, well. Things can't always be perfect. The Casino didn't buy the painting, though. Instead, they're leasing it for three months.  They  thoughtfully urged me to add a label off to the side of the painting so anyone interested could get in touch with me. It's a great honor and opportunity to have my work featured so prominently. Maybe someone with a large enough wall with fall in love with 'Forces of Nature' and want to take it home.
With Mayor, Drew Dilkens & brother-in-law, Bob Williams

With Mayor, Drew Dilkens & brother-in-law, Bob Williams

 

Art Gallery of Windsor's 'Sip & Paint'

The 'Sip & Paint' evening hosted by the Art Gallery of Windsor on October 27th, 2016 was a smashing success !!
AGW 'Sip & Paint' set up before workshop

AGW 'Sip & Paint' set up before workshop

It was the first time the gallery had tried something like this. The more generic "Sip & Paint" evenings popular at restaurants and bars are all the rage right now. These are usually more focused on the drinking and partying, with little true creativity in the painting lesson. So the AGW asked me to create a totally unique workshop experience. Yes, of course, there was fantastic catered appetizers great wine, and relaxed fun ! But the bonuses were the spectacular view of Detroit across the Detroit River, the ambiance of the AGW museum and a memorable  art workshop experience.
Getting started with wine and first steps

Getting started with wine and first steps

With 22 participants, it was a much larger group than we had anticipated. Thank goodness local artist Jude Quick volunteered to help me. Otherwise, I would have been overwhelmed. Thanks a million Jude !!!! Most participants had never painted before and it was natural to be a bit hesitant. But everyone loosened up after a glass of wine and began to really enjoy themselves. Their abstract paintings quickly began to take shape as I led them all through a series of simple steps.  Every step allowed room for each person's individual creative choices. By the end of the evening, every person took home their own totally amazing painting on canvas measuring 20 x 16 inches. Every painting was different and truly good enough to hang proudly on their walls.
Helping participants and answering questions

Helping participants and answering questions

I had a wonderful time sharing my experience and creating a fun night out for everyone.                

Do You Think This is Art?

This past weekend I met up with a group of artist friends after going to Art Toronto at the Convention Centre. Going to Art Fairs is a frequent pilgrimage for me, as I like to see what the top galleries are showing. But seeing what is supposed to be amazing art gets to be more of an empty exercise with each passing year.
With five of my artist friends after Toronto Art Fair

With five of my artist friends after Art Toronto

We all wandered around the show on our own and compared notes after. It was great fun to share drinks and dinner with this group of dynamic contemporary painters and hear their thoughts. The conversation was quite lively. Most of us had never met in person before. We've all gotten to know each other over the internet and really admire each others' work. I had previously met two of them when I attended Kevin Ghiglione's   stunning solo exhibition at Muse Gallery last August. We all agreed that the art being shown at Art Toronto was underwhelming at best. In fact most of us felt, as working artists, there was almost nothing inspiring.
Art Toronto 2016 Jack Bush painting

Art Toronto 2016 Jack Bush painting

This is supposed to be the best of the best! Art Toronto features  mostly Canadian galleries with a generous mixture of American, South American and European galleries showing their top artists. But it all seemed really hum drum and derivative. I don't know if you've ever felt this when looking at contemporary art, but some of the art felt like a con job. I saw two large saggy canvases in the 5 figure price range that were badly stretched and warping. I saw another painting where the paint was literally flaking off onto the floor priced at $27,000!! Much of it was pretentious, silly and trying too hard. As a perfect example this painting by Kim Dorland was actually repellent. Yet it had a red dot, meaning sold. I can't imagine someone paying $10,500. for this! I'd be embarrassed to have painted it and even more so to have bought it. What do you think? I'd be interested in your comments.
Is this art to you?

Kim Dorland 30 x 24 Equinox Gallery $10,500. SOLD

 

Tough Choice to Make

One of the advantages of being an artist for over 20 years, is that you get invited to do some really interesting things. It's always an honor to be involved with the local creative community whenever I can. Last week I had the pleasure of being one of three judges to select the winning paintings in a local art competition. The juried theme was "Barnes of Essex County" presented by the Association of Representational Artists. The other two distinguished judges were  Mayor Ken Antaya of LaSalle, and Curator of the Gibson Gallery, Bonnie Deslippe.
Judges Mayor Ken Antaya with Artist Shirley Williams

Judges Mayor Ken Antaya with Artist Shirley Williams

 The ARA is a nonprofit group of artists since 1978, with a focus on representational paintings and sculpture.

This year's theme “Barns of Essex County” is meant to help preserve the memory of our agricultural heritage through art. We know that some of our older barn structures are falling to time and age and are being replaced by newer architecture.

The paintings in the competition were judged on adherence to the theme, skill in execution of medium, design, composition and overall merit.

Nine paintings had been pre-juried and we three judges were asked to select the winners.

It was a tough choice because each painting was really well done. There were a variety of mediums - watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastel and mixed media, all handled with great technical ability. Plus, each painting displayed a unique style and great sensitivity to their subject.

We had no idea whose paintings we were judging because the artists' signatures had been taped out.

Even though I'm an abstract artist, (and not a member of ARA) my fundamental training was representational drawing and painting, so I have a great appreciation for this style of art. Lots of talent in this group for sure !

The Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal awards were presented the following evening at the reception. The Gold Medal winner was one of the area's favorite representational painters, Dennis Smith.   dennis-smithUnfortunately the photo of his winning painting came out very blurry so I can't show it here.

 

If you'd like to see his painting, along with about 75 other member's excellent paintings there's still time. I encourage you to go see this terrific group show.

Their exhibition and sale runs to Sunday, Nov 13, 2016 Windsor Crossing Premium Outlet Mall Unit 110 – 1555 Talbot Rd. LaSalle

Hours:  Thurs. 10am- 9pm, Fri. 10am - 9pm, Sat.10am-6pm & Sun.12noon – 4pm

Closed: Mondays, Tuesday & Wednesday.

Go take a look!!

‘SIP & PAINT’ Social Workshop at AGW

I've been invited to be the Featured Artist for a social evening of "Sipping & Painting at the Art Gallery of Windsor on October 27. It's going to be a super fun experience for one and all. This is for everyone, even people who tell me they can't even "draw a straight line."
'Sip & Paint' workshop with artist Shirley Williams

Art Gallery of Windsor

Sip & Paint is a new public art program at the Art Gallery of Windsor that welcomes visitors to the Gallery for an evening of wine and painting. Over the course of two hours, participants will work with an established artist in the 2nd Floor studio. You'll be guided through an introduction to acrylic and concepts of abstract art.  Included in your ticket is a complimentary glass of wine, snacks, all necessary materials and admission into the Gallery`s exhibitions. Absolutely no experience is required. It will also be a lot of fun for those who do have painting experience too. I hope to see you there. It's going to be a blast !!! Tickets are limited, so please rsvp as soon as possible.
The Art Gallery of Windsor will be posting a link online to purchase tickets soon. Until then please call  AGW Visitor Services at 519-977-0013

'SIP & PAINT' - Social Acrylic Painting WORKSHOP

Thursday, October 27, 2016 – Featured Artist Shirley Williams Art Gallery of Windsor 401 Riverside Drive West, 2nd Floor, Windsor, Ontario 6-8pm $50 per ticket

I Give Up !!

Of course I'm not giving up painting !!! shirley_williams_art_brushes

I'm giving up painting with brushes.

   

2015-12-haramara_2-shirley-williams_art

Last December 2015, I participated in a life-altering painting retreat totally off-grid in the seaside jungles near Sayulita, Mexico. Read my Blog Post   HERE    and   HERE

We were a small group of 15 committed artists, completely cut off from the outside world for 9 days. It was protected and totally safe.

The retreat was led by a fantastic abstract painter, Nicholas Wilton  who is based in San Francisco. He encouraged us to push ourselves and explore new creative directions in our painting.

I've been painting, exhibiting and supporting myself as an artist for over 20 years. But I admit, I felt a bit stale the past few years. As a career artist you need to shock your creative system every 10 years or so, in whatever way suits you. Otherwise painting can become a job.

Watching all the other artists painting with brushes inspired me. So I decided to hit the refresh button and learn to paint in a totally different way.

Until then, it had never been my approach to paint with brushes. Instead I always poured, painted with my hands, brayers and palette knives. painting-with-hands-shirley_williams   These past 9 months I decided to learn to paint with brushes. And what an incredibly frustrating and humbling experience it's been ! It's a bit embarrassing to admit. I've been in the studio every day for 8 - 10 hours. I've worked and re-worked dozens of paintings, and don't have ONE painting that satisfies me. In 9 MONTHS  !!! A brush in my hand continues to feel foreign and restrictive.  And to my eye, the awkwardness I feel shows up in these paintings.   But at some point ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ! Yesterday was the final straw. I got so frustrated with re-painting the same large canvas for weeks with nothing good to show for it, that I threw my brushes in the sink. I grabbed a brayer and began covering everything up with large gestures. Suddenly the painting came alive and I was having a blast. To be clear, I didn't feel pressured or obligated these past 9 months, to learn to paint with brushes. And I wasn't subjecting myself to unnecessary suffering. Instead it was about opening myself to other ways of thinking and creating art. Working through the physical challenges of painting in an unfamiliar way has made me hyper-aware of how I paint best. It's given me a heightened sensitivity to my materials and tools.   In the long run, every frustrating moment taught me something. I even loved every minute in a weird sort of way. Sometimes as artists, we MUST try new ways of working. It's only by challenging ourselves that we keep moving forward. But at the same time,  "we must be in touch with what our souls want to do". That's why I'm declaring here and now. NO MORE BRUSHES for me.