Background and Career
Shelley Mitchell started as an architectural draftsperson and project manager, a career she pursued for many years before returning to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she earned her bachelors degree in Painting and Art History. Since then, she has shown professionally throughout the Maritime Provinces, Quebec, Ontario and Maine.
Work and art
The physical presence of Atlantic Canada, with its ever-changing atmosphere and diversity of land and sea and shore, moves Mitchell to paint continuously. Each part of the day and every change in the weather give her inspiration. She is drawn to that thoughtful light at the edges of the day when colours are dramatic and shadows are deep.
In her work, a boat reflects itself imperfectly or more astonishingly, perfectly in the water, creating a compelling symphony of colours, lines and textures. The graceful spread of the paint colours reflection over the waters surface is reminiscent of the intricate folds of rich fabrics.
Mitchell goes to great lengths to find lovely handcrafted boats to paint. In the summer, she is constantly on the lookout as she sails through Nova Scotia and Maine. She also makes at least one trip down to the New England coast each and gladly drives or sails to remote (and not so remote) harbours in search of small boatyards and marinas.
To Shelley Mitchell, boats are exotic symbols of freedom, adventure, and pleasure. She is entranced by the elegance of their design. This is particularly true for tenders and other small boats which are very often hand made with care, craftsmanship and the best materials. Whether she finds these boats abandoned, working, idle or imagined, the extraordinary personality and loveliness of each one moves her to paint them much as artists have always painted the human figure: as a deeply meaningful object.
"What I want from a painting is a moment in time that shares my experience of that day surrounded by water, light and magic, a gift to myself and others."
— Shelley Mitchell
Her realist art conveys a powerful emotional message. Her paintings embody serenity, balance, and an escape into a tranquil moment.
At La Galerie d'art Au P'tit Bonheur
Since November 2020.