About The Artist

Growing Up As An Artist

I believe everyone is born an artist. Think about what kids do. They draw, paint, build, act, sing – you name it, they are creating it in one form or another. We are all still creators, but some of us have put our attention towards other things and left that little artist behind.

Shelley Hanna, artist, and PenelopeI knew from an early age that I was pretty good at art and I was lucky to get encouragement in that area. I was very shy so art was a “safe” way to get attention. This attention was focused on what I did rather than who I was so as to avoid the devastation of personal criticism.

Ahead Of My Time Or Behind The Times?

My path as an artist was through realism or representational art. This, unfortunately, was not popular when I was growing up (even thought the movement started in the 60’s). The age of Modern Art still had the upper hand.

Realism wasn’t taught in school and the pressure was on to create in a style that I wasn’t truly passionate about. This left me floundering and eventually I gave up on art and pursued a career in design which ultimately has been very rewarding.

It’s Never Too Late

At the end of 2016, both of my dogs (who were my little babies, they have sadly passed) had become very ill and I needed to stay home through the holidays to care for them.

As a lifelong learner and obsessive YouTube watcher, I decided to focus on one subject for one month. That subject was art history. Strangely enough, art history bored me to death in school. However, watching these modern documentaries on various artists really awakened something within me.

Also, I discovered to my amazement that realism had made a comeback. How had I missed that? Now all the sudden I was painting again. BUT, I felt like I was horribly behind. There was so much to learn!

For DECADES I had no passion for painting.




The discovery of artists creating realism around the world (via Instagram) made me realize I had to get the canvases out and brush up on my skills.

The Power Of Starting Small

The other thing that helped me was coming across a group of daily painters. These people do small paintings. For them, it’s all about doing the work.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad, it’s all about getting going and creating. Because these works are small, you can do them more quickly.

As an artist, if you fail – which I recently did – it’s not a big deal. This takes the pressure off, makes the process fun and is great for learning new techniques.

It Really Is About The Little Things In Life

As they say, “it’s the little things in life that make us happy”. The cuddles from a beloved pet. The way your child looked in 7th grade. Your grandmother’s teacup. The lake where you spent summers as a teenager.

My purpose as an artist is to help people appreciate all those memories.

Life gets busy and we don’t take time to stop and focus on what means the most to us like we used to. That’s why I create art – it helps us to remember the special things that create meaning in our lives.

Let’s Stay In Touch

I would love for you to sign up below for my occasional updates to keep up with what is happening in my studio. Check out the sign up form at the top of this page.

I may send out emails a couple times a year with highlights from the studio. (My inbox is so loaded, I hesitate to crowd anyone else’s inbox). My goal is to share progressions of work and anything that includes the the ups and downs of living a creative life.

Thanks for hanging out with me. Feel free to contact me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.