Shirley Willies


Wildlife & Nature Artist

Art has been a life-long passion of Shirley’s. Born in 1940 she grew up at Highvale, on a farm west and south of Edmonton Alberta, Canada. As a child she painted in watercolour and drew pictures of animals. At the age of sixteen she received a Christmas gift of oil paints, which marked the beginning of her love for oil.

After graduating from High School, she studied Education and then earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education at the University of Alberta. With teaching and coaching various sports, there was little time to paint. In order to pursue her art, Shirley left teaching to study fine art for two years at Medicine Hat College from 1977-79. She also took design courses at The University of Alberta in Edmonton and at The University of Calgary, Alberta.

Extensive travel in Alberta, which is ‘home-turf’, has provided ample opportunity for painting the Prairies and Canadian Rockies. Besides also traveling to Eastern Canada, two of her extensive trips were to Australia in 1969-70 and Southern Africa in 1987. More recent travel has included a Polar Bear Safari, Mexico and the South Western United States, with special artistic interest going to Utah, Arizona and California. All this has provided additional subject matter for her artwork.

These days, while Shirley will occasionally use watercolour and acrylic, her preferred medium is predominantly oil, and her subject matter is mostly Wildlife and Landscape. Her paintings maintain a ‘style’ of realism. Shirley’s works, including commissions, have been purchased by private, as well as corporate clients, which includes Encana, the Consul-General of Japan, and esteemed artist Robert Guest. Shirley and her husband Tony call Carstairs Alberta “Home sweet home.”