A jack-of-all-trades, Lois Shipley has experimented with a variety of media throughout the years, from weaving to furniture painting. While always dabbling in the arts, it was upon focusing on oil painting that everything fell into place. “I always felt that painting was a real art form, and even as a youth gave more value to the oil painters.”
Early in her oil painting career Lois experimented with various techniques, but after taking a workshop with Beth Bathe, a better understanding of values kicked in. A technique that Bathe taught is to start by blocking in the values with raw umber water-mixable oil paint, then use tools to move the paint around creating shapes and textures. Sometimes it becomes a finished painting; sometimes it is an “under painting”. “I love color, so I usually add glazes of transparent color and layers of paint.”
Whether a dilapidated barn or sweeping vista, Lois finds artistic vignettes in everyday surroundings. “I also find inspiration in abstract ideas and places. I live in the woods and am surrounded by trees and wildlife which continue to inspire.” Lois prefers to work from photographs, often taking pictures during trips to use later in her studio. “The last trip we took in the Southwest, I was so inspired by the ruins and cave dwellings we found. I made several paintings from that trip.” More recently, Lois has shifted her focus from sweeping landscapes to calm yet powerful seas and skies. “I am working on more atmospheric studies with bursts of clouds, even with rain in the background.”
Now an experienced artist, Lois is grateful for the knowledge she has attained through practice and skilled mentors. She believes and strives to, “live an artful life. I appreciate that not everyone sees things the way an artist does.”
“For me, painting a landscape is an opportunity to capture one moment in an ever changing world. It is often the serendipity of light, colors and shapes aligning to inspire an emotion or reaction.”
Being a country girl, Lois leans toward more rural landscapes. Whether it is a dirt road carving its way through a field or forest, or an ancient cave dwelling, her oil paintings often reveal that a landscape was touched by a human. She is also intrigued by how Mother Nature may take something ‘man has made and adds her own artistic touch with a patina or rust, or weathering a wooden board. Old structures being reclaimed by nature have been a subject in some of Lois’ paintings. “The textures and shapes offer so much to play with!”
Lois is inspired by everyday landscapes near her home in rural Virginia and from her travels. Her paintings are a record of her journey. Always mindful of a potential painting, Lois takes her own photographs to use later as a resource in her studio. “Painting is an excellent way of being in the moment and remembering a moment.”
Lois is a graduate from Shepherd College (now University) with a Bachelor degree in Art Education. Before retirement, she was employed by The Montpelier Center for Arts & Education in Montpelier, VA as Executive Director, and more recently as Art Gallery Director. Lois has been an exhibiting member of James River Art League in Richmond since 2006, and currently serves on their Executive Board as Chair of the JRAL Gallery at Crossroads. She is also a member of Virginia Plein Air Painters and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.