Shirley began sketching people and animals while still in high school, but put her love of art aside while she pursued a career in science and management.
While working in a hectic corporate environment, she went back to begin art lessons as a release from the stress of management. During the weekly art lessons, she discovered that the use of pastels enabled her to combine drawing and the use of color. When Shirley retired from the corporate world, she quickly took advantage of studying with some of the noted pastelists in the New Jersey area. She spent almost eight months in weekly workshops with Christina Debarry, PSA, who was then President of the Pastel Society of America (PSA). After moving to Arkansas, Shirley won a scholarship from the Pastel Society of America to study with Ben Konis, PSA in Texas. Shirley has since taken workshops with Albert Handell, PSA; Maggie Price, PSA; Doug Dawson, PSA ; Bob Rohm, PSA; and Mike Mahon, PSA. She has spent one to two weeks each year for the last ten years studying with Richard McKinley, PSA, in Santa Barbara, CA. Shirley has also studied portraiture with Ovita Goolsby.
Shirley is a versatile artist and works with acrylic, oil, and charcoal as well as pastels. Her paintings are representational, and she has recently focused on landscapes across the United States. She also creates people and pet portraits on commission. Shirley’s work has been accepted in juried exhibits in California, Colorado, New Jersey, Texas, Kansas and Arkansas. Her paintings hang in private collections in New Jersey, Kentucky, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Canada.
Shirley is a co-founder of the Arkansas Pastel Society and served as President (2006-2007). She is a Signature Member of the Arkansas Pastel Society, a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of the West Coast, and a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of the Southwest. Shirley is an Associate Member of the Pastel Society of America. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Pastel Societies as the Exhibition Chair and the Secretary of the Executive Committee.
Shirley along with three others owned and operated Gallery 726 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, from May 2009 through April 2013. Her work can be seen the Art Group Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2007, Shirley released, along with three other artists, a book of her artwork entitled The Monday Studio.