Buckingham resident Shelley Weiss likes to the think of herself as an excellent example of the old adage, “You’re never too old to try something new.”
“Had I not been fortunate enough to retire, I would never have found the time to discover and develop a hidden talent,” said Shelley, who is the featured artist for the month of May at Northampton Library on Upper Holland Road in Richboro.
After retiring from teaching special education several years ago, Shelley signed up to take a six session drawing class for beginners, “since beginner pretty much described me,” she said.
It was about halfway through the class she realized she could draw. “It came as quite a shock,” she said. “I recall my husband of over 40 years looking over my shoulder as I completed a class assignment. He said, ‘I didn’t know you could do that!’ I replied, ‘Neither did I!’”
Shelley has been hooked on art ever since, moving from drawing to paint and incorporating color into her pieces with acrylic paints and, most recently, oils.
“The process of recreating that moment through my use of light, value, color and composition, as well as the finished product, allows me to extend my original feeling of awe,” says Shelley.
When asked from where she draws her inspiration, Shelley responded, “I am most at home when surrounded by nature.”
She continued, “ I have spent much of my life immersed in nature through my equestrian endeavors, love of animals, gardening, photography and enjoying the outdoors and all it has to offer. I am also blessed to live in beautiful Bucks County with its rich history and many beautiful farms. So it is not surprising that my inspiration comes form the flora and fauna that beckon me. Through my art, I try to convey those special interactions we have with nature. I enjoy capturing that special moment that inspired me and brought me that spark of joy, wonder, or even humor. All I need do is glance at my finished piece to rekindle those emotions.”
Although Shelley is largely self-taught, she has attended, and continues to attend, workshops and classes with “some of the wonderful artists that call Bucks County their home.”
Aside from her art, Shelley is a long-time avid equestrian.
“For many years I competed in hunter/jumper horse shows, as well as Dressage shows. Although I no longer compete, I am still an active rider and care for my own horse. I adore animals,” she said, in addition to enjoying gardening, walking and photography.
While retirement can mean the end of one defining way of life, Shelley believes it can open up new opportunities for growth and discovery.
“As a past educator, I appreciate that learning goes on as long as there is life and a desire to grow,” she said.
Shelley hopes her story can inspire others to try something new. Shelley’s work has been exhibited at various venues in Bucks County, which have included solo exhibits at the Bucks County Visitors Center and the Doylestown Hospital Pavilion, among others.
She sells her work via art shows, solo exhibits and word of mouth and accepts commissions for pet/house/farm portraits. For more information, you can write her an e-mail at email@example.com.
PHOTO CAP: Shelley Weiss is will be the featured artist at the Free Library of Northampton Township in May. Pictured here is her rendering of “Tanner’s Farmhouse.”