Shelley Hull

I have been painting for over 30 years and have made a variety of artworks throughout the years – constructions with objects from nature combined with painted imagery, evoking shrines; collaborations of collage and painted images of ghostlike figures and drapery; and images inspired by mystical Judaism….
I studied painting at Yale University and earned my MFA from the Maryland Institute. I moved to the midwest and my East Cost sensibility was enhanced by the Chicago imagists and appreciation of Outsider Artists. I absorbed all the looking and painted through my visual passions within my art through the years.
The last few years I have focused on making paintings and drawings of the western landscape where I live. I have come to the southwest since the 1970s spending time in New Mexico and Indian Country. Moving to Denver in the late 90s I have returned to painting the western landscape – painting Moab, the San Rafael Swell of Utah, Hovenweep, Plaza Banca, Ojo Caliente, and Joshua Tree.
I love the color and light in the southwest. I am inspired by the vistas, the canyons, the smell of pine and pinyon, and the desert silence. I am endlessly fascinated by the mountains west of Denver as they change throughout the day. It is a landscape that renews and refreshes and inspires me. The treks I make to various places in the southwest nourish my studio time and sustains my painting as I explore light, form, vastness and color – green-greys, russets, sienna, cerulean and cobalt.
I love to hike and carry my sketchpad, a small portable watercolor kit, and my camera. I jot down what I see, and as I draw and pause and walk some more, I notice different aspects of the landscape. As I sketch a scene it further alters how I see the landscape; and I continue to hike and draw; each iteration changing how I see. Thus the process of being out there and walking through the ‘place’ is part of rendering it in an iterative way.
Once in the studio the paintings are responses to nature as well as conversations with other painters like Elmer Bishoff, David Park, Fairfield Porter or David Hockney. I begin to see the landscape through a lens by looking at paintings by these other artists. And the dialog begins. Painting is both discovering the landscape and discovering other painters too.