Shirley Bavonese | About
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Shirley Bavonese Bio

Shirley 2017 As far back as I can remember I enjoyed all kinds of art and making things. My favorite class in elementary school was art. By high school I was excited by using pastels focusing on rock musician portraits, and won awards for pastels of Gregg Allman and Leon Russell.


I received my Bachelor of Science in Education from Wayne State University. After teaching in elementary school for a few years I went on to be certified in Special Education. Still not finding my niche, I went on to get my Masters at the University of Michigan in Social Work. I ultimately settled on a career in practicing psychotherapy in private practice.


After meeting my husband Joe we created the Relationship Institute and now have expanded to three clinics in southeastern Michigan. During the Institute expansion we had three children. While the children were growing up I had to put my drawing and painting on hold. I did however invest my creativity in an event that I created called The Green Cruise. With the help of the Sierra Club it took off, and for ten years I painted windows, a 7 foot canvas Earth, designed costumes and contributed to a parade. I also created environmental plays for the school my children attended. I was able to complete five productions complete with stage backdrops, costumes and full choreographed dance routines.


We moved to Ann Arbor from Royal Oak in 2009, seeking a better educational system for our children, and closer access to nature for my inspiration. Two months after the move I lost both of my parents. This loss inspired me to return to my art and stop waiting for the right moment to begin.


Since then, I have taken numerous classes at Ann Arbor Art Center and currently show and sell pieces there. I have also taken classes at 212 Art Center in Saline and have joined an Art Group called Jumping Water Painters coached by an Ann Arbor artist Ruth Gilmore Langs. I am lucky to have the support of my husband and children, family and friends during this creative journey.

Artist Statement – Shirley Bavonese

My younger self created representational artwork with a focus on portraits using pastels, charcoal and colored pencils. My excitement now comes from losing the detail and painting broadly using acrylics to capture the dancing of light that quickly changes and shifts on landscapes. I also delight in chasing early and setting light reflecting off clouds, grasses, or water. Exhilaration also comes from intense color, both those reflecting in the environment and those created. Color equals vibration and has my full attention while I paint. It is important to express a sense of place and feeling in my work. I’m striving to inspire viewers to stop and freeze the thrill of the moment of what I see and feel. It is my goal to move to a more Impressionistic flavor – and pushing even further to Abstract – while holding onto the feelings and reflective moment.