Featured Artist Shirley Peters

Shirley Peters presents her portfolio, which brings her Australian homeland to life. Visit her website to see more from this talented artist.


Mahon Pool, Maroubra

“Mahon Pool, Maroubra” acrylic on paper, 100cm x 145cm


I started art school in the early 70’s with the intention of becoming an art teacher. I focused on painting, but soon found disappointment with the unruly teenage classes I was given during my “practice teaching” periods.


"New Shoots from Old Growth"  oil on canvas, 90cm x 120cm

“New Shoots from Old Growth” oil on canvas, 90cm x 120cm


I wanted to paint, not fight with teens all day, so I dropped out after two years and transferred to Graphic Design. Here I learnt colour theory, design principles and painting techniques that have helped my fine art career immensely. I was lucky to have this practical training. (It is almost impossible to find this in art schools today.)


"King of the Hill, Charlotte Pass"  oil on canvas, 120cm x 100cm

“King of the Hill, Charlotte Pass” oil on canvas, 120cm x 100cm


My first serious art job was as a layout artist for Walton’s Advertising. This involved sketching the ads: the headline, the lines of “copy”, and the product. This could be anything; a sofa, a kettle, a bra! Photography was used for the final advert in most cases, but the products were firstly illustrated for the production “traffic”. After four years in graphic design, I branched out as a freelancer. Illustration was my strength, which directed me back to fine art.


"After-Warm"  watercolour on paper, 40cm x 60cm

“After-Warm” watercolour on paper, 40cm x 60cm


I worked for a while with a book publisher, and this opened the door to children’s book illustration, especially the picture book. What an opportunity to paint, and make a living! I jumped in and illustrated my first book. It was shortlisted for the Book of the Year award, (Mervyn’s Revenge by Leone Peguero 1990) and so I continued to illustrate many books for trade and education, both in Australia and America.


Artist Shirley Peters location painting at Ball's Head, Sydney

Artist Shirley Peters location painting at Ball’s Head, Sydney


In 2008, I made the decision to discard all commercial work and publishing and focus purely on painting. I enrolled at a local fine-art course as a refresher, and then established my own practice with annual group shows in Sydney, and a solo in Melbourne. I am represented by Gallery V in Woolloomooloo, Sydney and continue to have a solo show each year, as well as open studios when time permits.


"Harbour in Sun and Wind from Balls Head" acrylic on paper, mounted onto canvas, 117cm x 154cm

“Harbour in Sun and Wind from Balls Head” acrylic on paper, mounted onto canvas, 117cm x 154cm


Oddly enough, I have returned to teaching. Adults only though. Last year I taught art and held workshops. This year I will make some painting videos to add to my existing “Colour in Your Life” episode.

What inspires me? Landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes; the world around me! I think every painter is moved by beautiful views, even those who eschew realism. Later in life they just want to paint what they see. Like Hockney.


"The Traverse"  oil on canvas, 1500mm x 900mm

“The Traverse” oil on canvas, 1500mm x 900mm


I have developed a loose, big-brush style, and I paint on large panels of paper. I use acrylic paint, and work it like watercolour. I then change to “oil” mode, and finish each work with thick opaque paint. The paper is later mounted onto canvas using my own secret formula. It does not need framing, and does not have glass in front. It is strong and permanent.


"Blue Light"  oil on canvas, 1200mm x 900mm

“Blue Light” oil on canvas, 1200mm x 900mm


I am about to start a series of landscapes due to my recent move to the rural outskirts of Sydney. We came from the city, but now have five acres of trees, lawns and bush, with kangaroos and birds as constant companions.

Shirley Peters invites you to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



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  1. Donna Birney says

    I like your style of painting. I am a beginner watercolor painter.Thanks for your
    teaching. Hope to see more from you!!

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