Percolating . . .


Percolating by Shirl Ireland 9" x 12" Plein Air Oil on linen


I have been thinking a lot about what I can contribute here. Percolating. After all there has been so much going on throughout the world over the last year, I don’t want to create more ‘noise’. I’d rather be a part of the solution. Inching the needle forward. A light on the way out of the tunnel.


So I pushed the pause button as the world slowed down and stayed home. It felt like the right time to just listen and see where my place to join in and start moving that needle forward could be.


A lot of my time has been spent in my studio - painting, painting, painting and experimenting quite a bit. It’s a place of clarifying, grounding, learning and introspection for me.


This need to ‘think through my hands’ has been my constant partner for as long as I can recall. A solace, a comfort during tough times, where I can let my visual voice express - and even sing!


This world wide pandemic has jolted us all in so many different ways. One ripple effect from it for me has been the time to pursue ideas that had long been on hold. In that way, it has been an unexpected gift.


As I’ve taken that time to get clearer on my vision, and deeper into introspection, it’s obvious that my artistic privileges are balanced on the shoulders of so many other women. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the women artists that have gone before me and made this artistic life possible. We are climbing out, but we are not there yet. I want to be part of the forward momentum.

A Winding Path by Shirl Ireland 9" x 12" Plein Air Oil on linen


I was fortunate enough to go to college for art. An option not offered to women who showed artistic potential from the ‘not so distant’ past. And yes I even took figure drawing courses! Something we take for granted now, but classes many women before me were excluded from, as it was considered ‘inappropriate’ by society for women.


So as International Women’s Day is approaching during Women's History Month, I see a place to contribute…


Art Education is a passion of mine and highlighting the contributions of other female artists seems important as we move the needle forward for humankind. Many of those female artists before me have been over looked in Art History books and I’d like to elevate their stories and voices out into the world. Their contributions have made what I do possible. As a tribute, I’m kicking off a series of blog posts on inspiring, tenacious women artists - starting on International Women's Day this Monday.


To honor my other passion - a VERY important woman to me ;-) Mother Nature… I’ll be sprinkling in glimpses out my studio windows into Yellowstone National Park along with images of the surrounding wilderness of my home state of Montana. Certainly an area of sustenance for me.


I live ever so close to nature, wildlife and wilderness and a glimpse into that world I hope will be inspiring, as well as calming and anchoring through these challenging tumultuous times.

Light Flight by Shirl Ireland 24" x 36" Oil on linen


Those seem to be the places where I’ve been called to contribute… Art & Nature. I’ll start with a short introductory blog tomorrow and then we’ll be off and running with our first artist on Monday March 8th for International Women’s Day.


We’ll be starting with an artist who was born in 1532 and lived into her 90’s! Any ideas??


Enjoy the view out my studio window today....

Elk Parade!


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