ARTIST

Represented by Libby’s of Toronto Gallery, Toronto, 1985 – present.
Winner, Best Figurative Work (In The Blind), 50th Anniversary Show, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2017.
Studied Masterworks in Paris, France, 2007, 2014.
Member, Oshawa Art Association.

EDUCATION

Ontario College of Art and Design, Department of Communications and Design, Toronto, 1980-1984.

  • Illustration, design, layout and typography. The illustration program at that time featured formal training in classical illustration, including endless hours of life and gesture drawing, anatomy, action drawing, still life, light and colour theory, materials and design. Studies also included sculpture, mold making and casting.

BA, Honours, with Distinction, University of Toronto, 1988-1995.

  • With majors in history and psychology, focusing on the history of the criminal justice system, British jurisprudence, the history of Great Britain, Western Europe and America.

MBA, Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto, 1995-1998.

  • Focusing on economics, finance and marketing.

BACKGROUND

As a child, the works of the great painters of the Golden Age of Illustration were what captured Shaw’s imagination. Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, NC Wyeth, Harvey Dunn,  J.C.Leyendecker, Frederick Remington, Winslow Homer and the gorgeous panoramas of Tom Lovell and Jay Matternes were the images that filled her early years. Fortunately, by the time she entered The Ontario College of Art & Design, much of that great period of style and talent was still being taught, and she was able to study under gold medal winning illustrators such as Bernie Fuchs, Will Davies and Brad Holland, and graphic designer Ernst Barenscher.

Under the onslaught of cheaper digital imagery, classical illustration largely died out some years later, but Shaw created her own niche in the depiction of animals of all descriptions, working for many years with clients such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Outdoor Life magazine, Dogs in Canada magazine and many, many others. In the 1980s, the genre of wildlife art enjoyed considerable popularity, although it never achieved the brilliance of the great old masters such as Rungius, Lilljefors and Kuhnert. Much of it was driven by the burgeoning market for print reproductions.

Rather than churn out art prints, Shaw decided to head to university and get a “real” education. As a child, her family had travelled much of the world, and her curiosity was ignited. “What you see of the world before you” Shaw says, “is like a painting, two dimensional. History reveals a third dimension, with pictures and stories of civilization extending back through time”. The study of psychology brought to life the drivers of history, while the humanities introduced her to the thinkers and artists whose ideas created the world in which we live today.

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

I draw little distinction between art and illustration, as the work I did for my clients was a reflection of my personal interests as an artist. The drawing, design and imagination required by fine illustration generally surpassed that to be found in contemporary painting, and the great illustrators that I admire handled graphite and oil with a virtuosity that is almost unknown today. Over time I have become interested in painting only for myself, working almost exclusively in oil.  Figurative work, animal and human, provides me with the greatest challenge and the most pleasure. Depicting the enormous diversity of the beauty of living forms, and the stories they are able to tell, transports me to a realm of personal and esthetic fulfillment of which no other art form is capable.