Shirley M Douglass Artist

Shirley Douglass grew up in Topeka, Kansas and graduated from Washburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Art. She taught art in schools in Olathe and Perry, Kansas. Her inspiration to become an artist began when she was young. She was influenced by her mother and grandfather.  Her Grandfather Gerry loved to do oil paintings in the basement and she loved watching him paint.

Shirley was also very influenced by John Stewart Curry, a famous Kansan artist, who painted the murals in the Topeka capitol building.  She was related to him through her step-mother, Ruby Curry, a cousin to Mr. Curry. 

Against the advice of her Grandfather Gerry, she started using oil paints when she was in 7th grade, but after experimenting with the various forms of art media, she decided that she preferred painting with watercolor.

Shirley enjoyed painting farm barns on site the most. She found that the weathering of old barns yielded itself to very interesting colors.  As she was painting she would look away from the barn scene and then look back and see colors she would have missed otherwise.  Cindy Montgomery a historical researcher from Eudora, Kansas, encouraged Shirley to start painting historical buildings such as the old Fall Leaf School in Fall Leaf Kansas, the Catholic Church in Eudora, and the old electric train depot in Linwood, Kansas. Besides doing watercolor paintings, Shirley also did charcoal sketches, pen and ink drawings and paintings using pastel paints.  Later in life, she especially enjoyed doing fabric pictures. She was at her friend Gertrude’s house and Gertrude asked Shirley if she could use material samples from her son’s furniture business for something so they wouldn’t go to waste.  Shirley said she looked at the samples and immediately saw woods and trees and water textures in the material.  She started using the material to make silhouettes and then began putting together more detailed pictures.  Her most favorite material art piece was the Wakarusa Indian Mission cabin where the first woman teacher in Kansas taught.  Shirley said that art had always been a “means of grace” for her.  She said, “When I was down or discouraged, I picked up the pen or brush and it helped me to do art.  I raised eight children and so with housework and so forth, nothing ever seemed to be done, and there were so many interruptions, but when I finished a piece of art it was finished and it gave me a feeling of accomplishment.”

For the last 15 years Shirley created her own cards which displayed her artwork .She sold them locally at art fairs. Kitty's Cherish cards was established by Shirley Douglass's daughters in loving memory of their mother to honor her and to continue her work.

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