Shelley Prior – Friday Night Guest – April 16, 2021
(Submitted by Desiree Toom)
Shelley Prior is a professional water colour artist based in Burlington, Ontario. Her subject matter is diverse, ranging from glass and other still life, floral, wildlife, landscape and portraits, which she paints in a highly realistic style. Her work has achieved many awards at the local, national and international level and she is a member of numerous Art Societies and Associations, demonstrating her proficiency and dedication to her art.
Painting glass has become a popular theme for her. She described having lots of glass throughout her house, perhaps becoming an obsession with the collection growing. She related to a Magpie, being attracted to all things bright and shiny. Capturing these bright and shiny attributes were presented in a glass still life demo for the DVAC group.
Her process began in advance of the workshop with a good drawing of the subject matter, something she does more of if the subject is detailed, difficult and challenging. Then the drawing is transferred onto watercolour paper using graphite paper. It is better to make mistakes and erase them on regular paper rather than good quality watercolour paper. Here she used Arches brand 140 lb. cold press paper, which is very stable and not prone to buckling when wet. A masking fluid was used to block out some details and highlights. For paints, she used DaVinci brand in a simple palette of Quinacridone Gold, Permanent Rose Quinacridone, Cobalt Blue and Paynes Grey. A Dainayw Professional squirrel hair brush #1 with a quill tip was used, which she found to hold lots of water and provides good control of detail. Some key points in what it takes to make a good painting is to use interesting lighting on the subject matter, use high contrast with dark darks and high highlights and to paint on a smooth surface. She paints with subtle glazes to produce deep rich shadows. One of her favorite moments is when she removes the masking fluid and the “sparkle of the glass reveals itself”.
Shelley’s demo and talk was fascinating and informative, holding everyone’s attention well past the formal part of the session. She demonstrated a wealth of knowledge answering more technical questions related to her tools, materials and process. It is clear she loves painting and loves passing on the skills to others also evident with a very full schedule of workshops and courses presently given on Zoom.
Shelley’s information can be found here: