Shirley Davis Dew lives in York, Yorkshire and her preferred mediums are watercolour and acrylic.
Why I Paint:
I first started painting when I was about 4 years old, but it was only after I retired that I discovered the SAA magazines and the amazing articles every month. I just couldn't wait to receive my next copy of the magazine.
Starting a Painting:
I often paint from photographs because I like to paint winter scenes. The pictures are only for reference as I often take images from a couple of scenes to make up a composition for my painting. Approaching a painting is often after a few weeks of thinking about what medium, size, and subject I will choose. If it's to be a snow scene then I play classical music. Jazz for a more vibrant painting or sometimes I will listen to soul music.
My place to work:
My husband built me a studio in our garden and I have the luxury of setting up my easel and paints alongside a pot of coffee and then that's it for a few hours. I find that if I am not careful I find lots of reasons why I shouldn't start work as the studio is comfortable and has a lovely view of the Wolds from the window. It is also a great space for the open studios I am involved with. The bonus is that I can lay out my paints and brushes and often have 2 or 3 paintings on the go as I am impatient and find it difficult to wait for things to dry.
My early paintings were totally watercolour which I love. The way the pigment flows and the strength as well as the sensitivity you can achieve in this medium will always capture me. I have over the past few years switched between watercolour and acrylics sometimes using both on the same painting to get wet in wet and texture effects. I enjoy painting mainly landscape and get my inspiration when walking in the Yorkshire Wolds or Dales.
Skies and trees have always fascinated me and I can often be found with my head in the clouds. Recently, I was asked to try the SAA Acrylics and I LOVE them. There are so many wonderful colours to choose from. They are smooth and creamy as well as being vibrant. You can achieve a very subtle delicate effect by watering them down to paint wet into wet skies and use a palette knife to get texture to finish the work as I do in my Dales paintings. I like the way that they blend on the canvas and don't dry out when I turn my back for the long awaited coffee.
After I thought that I would put up my feet I gained a second career teaching art and am often asked to hold workshops and give demonstrations to art groups. At my weekly classes I find I am motivated as well as inspired by what the students produce and I hope to never stop learning myself. My hobby became my work and my passion and painting has given me lots of lovely friends.
When I am working music is important to me (all kinds dependent on my mood) also influencing the subject and style.
I take a large flask of coffee and drink the lot.
I have to paint in the day as I find that the light in my studio is better then. The size of my canvases is getting larger and I find that this gives me the freedom to be more creative.
Because of the size of painting I stand to work at an easel. This allows me to step back to view what I have done and see what to do next.