Artist of the Month - Shirley Reynolds

Let me introduce myself: I'm Shirley Reynolds and  I have had the pleasure of living in Merritt for 20 years.  During this time, I have met many interesting people who live here and some who are just passing through as tourists.  As a Merrittonian, I have had the pleasure of connecting with other creatives. It may surprise you, but there are many artisans currently living here. Also, there are many new ones who have recently moved here. This makes for an inspiring group of people to bounce ideas off and to learn from.


We are fortunate to have a thriving Arts Centre whose members and Executive create wonderful art related experiences for children, youth and adults. Volunteers man the Gift Shop and Gallery to keep it economically viable. Not only is it an amazing place to visit, to perhaps purchase a hand-made item  and enjoy  the revolving Gallery shows, but it is also a good place for me to volunteer at. I love surrounding myself with other artisans’ creations and enjoy promoting their work as well as my own. In May 2022, I had my first solo show in that venue.  I was rewarded with some sales of my work. This inspired me to continue to create and bring visual joy to others. 



My artistic journey actually began when I was just a toddler. Apparently, I insisted on making my mark on the freshly painted walls adjacent to my crib. My annoyed father had to repaint it.  Well, I made more marks the very next day on that same wall. He said he lost his patience at that point and stuck a paint rag in my mouth. Perhaps it had lead paint in it and that may explain the development of my eccentric nature! As a child, I must have assumed that walls were wonderful blank canvasses to express myself on. The moral of this story is: You can never take the artist out of the artist. That creative spirit is always there ready to be unleashed repeatedly!


Over the years, I have had the good fortune of being able to share my art knowledge by teaching children, youth and adults.  The joy of seeing them create their own art and the process of inspiring them to continue to learn and develop their creative sides, is very rewarding.


My art journey in Merritt has also included volunteering my time to lead paint-ins that have been fundraisers for supporting the Arts here.  One such paint-in was held for family members to participate in. It was heartwarming to see sisters, grandmas, grandpas, grandchildren as well as parents painting side by side. They seemed to be having so much fun in these sessions.


 Another project that I created and organized was a “Chair Walk “. Individual artists were given a chair to turn into an Art piece. They were exhibited for a month in various businesses around town. People were encouraged to travel around Merritt to see these decorated chairs, bid on their favourites and possibly make purchases at those businesses.  This event was well received. As you can see, art has always led me to participate in interesting projects.


More recently, I have taught a beginner’s Acrylic Painting Class at the Nicola Valley Arts Centre. In the fall, I may develop an Acrylic class where the creation of abstracts will be explored. My interests are not limited to solely painting landscapes but also to creating florals, portraits and abstracts, etc. Multi-media projects on canvas pique my interest too. I have explored other mediums such as watercolours, pastels, printmaking and alcohol inks. Collage and hand-built pottery are things that interest me as well. I have dabbled in transforming furniture pieces into ones that can grace my home.  I often say to myself that I have more art projects to delve into and interests to explore, than I have time on this earth to complete!


My artistic spirit is nourished by taking classes at the NVAC where I try new crafts and get exposed to new ideas.  I am mainly self-taught, but I have been an avid participant in many art workshops presented by professional artists both in person or via Zoom. While in my former community of Williams Lake and here in Merritt, I have had the pleasure of bringing in highly qualified artists to teach myself and others.  Amazingly, this has drawn participants from various communities outside of our own as well as our local residents. Consequently, these workshops have also served to boost the economy of this wee city. A win-win for all concerned.


As you have already discovered, I continue to hone my skills. Art provides life-long learning opportunities. You can choose to paint alone in your studio or with others in workshops or as a member of an Art Group. You can never truly be alone as art making can be your companion. It has been fun to participate in community art shows where I have had some success in receiving honourable mentions and a People’s Choice Award. Most recently, I had the privilege of being nominated Artist of the Year which was shared with two other worthy artists. Thank you, Merritt. It’s so great that my  community supports the Arts.


I am definitely a colourist as my paintings are full of bold, rich colours. In the past, I have tried to paint quiet paintings. However, they just don’t seem to come out of me. The lesson that I have learned over the years is to stay true to myself. My goal is to continue my art practice and to share my knowledge with others. I will never tire of witnessing the “art lightbulb” get turned on in someone else’s head. My challenge to others is to simply pick up a brush or try a new craft and see where that may lead. One day, you too, may call yourself an artist!


Yours in the creative spirit,


Shirley Reynolds


Nicola Valley Arts Centre

Discover your community at the Arts Centre!

P: 250-378-6515

E: info@nicolavalleyarts.com

M: PO Box 92 | Merritt, BC | V1K 1B8

2051 Voght Street (beside Kekuli Cafe)


Hours: Wed-Sat 10 am - 5 pm | Sun 12 pm - 4 pm


Powered by creativity, our members, and our sponsors - thank you!