Kelley Shirkey graduated with an art major from Hillsdale College and began her career teaching art in an elementary school for six years. Her path shifted into a business creating art commissions and murals. After a move across the country, Kelley entered the world of publishing as an illustrator and designer at a publishing company in Colorado. Upon returning to Michigan she has continued to freelance as an illustrator and graphic designer. Kelley was introduced to Plein Air painting during a study abroad trip in Italy and again in France. These opportunities allowed her to learn to take great joy in painting outdoors and working quickly and decisively. Kelley’s plein air work is generally done in oil, with the goal of reacting to the scene, to represent the initial appeal before the light changes and everything takes on a very different look. Working in this manner is exciting, challenging and always full of surprises. From curious onlookers, to snowy conditions to pesky insects, painting on location provides many elements with which to contend for the success of each painting. Kelley has had the opportunity to paint in many beautiful settings, including painting in the Dexter event several times. Notably, Kelley has shown her work at ART 634 in Jackson, Michigan several times. She has been a demonstrating artist during En Plein Air Jackson. Kelley has had the opportunity to study plein air painting with Sam Knecht, in Italy, and with Sterling Hofman in Cazadero, California, and Camille Przewodek in Petoskey, Michigan, as well as at the Biological Station, on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. However, her favorite place to paint, thus far, is Rocky Mountain National Park. Kelley lives in south central Michigan with her husband and three young daughters, as well as a cat and a flock of chickens. While winter provides opportunities to work on figurative and portrait painting, she is looking forward to many opportunities to paint outdoors during the beautiful summer months.