Shelli Alford

Shelli Alford Headshot

Shelli Alford – The Traveling Artist

I have always wanted to learn how to paint in oils, but I felt too intimidated in college to learn.  Then I did the whole go to college, transfer colleges, transfer back to original college, graduate from college, get a job, get transferred to yankeeville, fall in love, get married, buy a dog, buy a house, renovate a house, have a child, buy another dog, have another child, buy a a REALLY old house, (for which I was so unprepared),  renovate that house, raise a family and then my kids abruptly left me at the same time last year.  My son went off to college in Paris and my daughter left for boarding school in Connecticut.  I woke up and said, “Wow, what happened to my life?  What do I want to do now?”  It took a lot of soul searching, but I have come up with a plan.  I have reached a point in my life where I don’t want to waste my time.  So I have come up with this transient atelier method.  I take workshops only from artists I really respect and admire.  They are the masters of our time.

I remember learning the very basics in high school about how to draw.  Unfortunately, the art I was given in college was very contemporary and sort of non-instructional and my art reflected it.  My taste has changed a lot from college.  I wanted to paint realistically, but had never been taught formally with the exception of high school.  It was also not a popular form of art.  I didn’t even know what to call it.  It was not until 2007 that I decided I wanted to learn how to paint in oil.  I searched for months for a class.  Every time I thought I found one I would google the teacher only to find cheesy portraiture or just plain not talented enough for my standards.  I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I knew I had not found it yet.  Then one night at a friends birthday party I met another artist, Gretchen Fuss (she of course immediately became my friend).  She suggested the Wayne Art School and The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  I went right home and looked up all the teachers at the Wayne Art Center, because it was really close to my house and found Alex Tyng.  She was great.  Unfortunately, her class had already started weeks earlier.  When I called the office at the Wayne Art Center they said I could still register and go.  So I did.  I walked into an already ongoing class weighted down with all of the supplies listed on the materials list and told her I had never done anything in oil before and knew nothing about it.  Alex was very kind and undaunted and said, no problem and so the process began.

Be Sociable, Share!

View OPA Blog articles by Shelli Alford