Shelley Thornton is an abstract artist based in St Ives, Cornwall. She creates vibrant, abstract paintings in acrylic, oil and mixed media; often featuring quotes from lyrics, literature and poetry. Her work is both textural and textual.
Shelley’s paintings are hard-edged in style, influenced by her own thoughts, feelings, emotions and reactions to the modern-day world. They evoke a deep sense of place and the passing of time, and represent a strong melding of the seeming dichotomy of the city vista and the coastal environment.
As a young child growing up in the urban, still industrial ‘badlands’ of South Yorkshire, beauty was not always evident. So, Shelley loved escaping to a more natural habitat whether to the coast, the Yorkshire Dales or the Peak District. During this early childhood period, she made meticulous drawings of birds and developed a keen interest in form and function. Through her teenage years her artwork developed. Moving away from nature, still life and portraiture she explored more surreal and abstract forms; influenced by music, literature, arthouse cinema, and modern art.
Even though Shelley’s ensuing business career allowed her to work all around the UK and internationally, she never lost touch of her first love and she continued to paint and develop her style. She has lived in Cambridge, London, Surrey and now Cornwall as well as Yorkshire, and her paintings possess a strong command of bold colours, and geometrical, architectural and industrial shapes and structure.
Shelley works predominantly on canvas and boards and likes to sketch out the composition beforehand. There is a preciseness to her approach and, once the foundation of white paint is laid to the surface, she will juggle different media (acrylic, oil, sand, salt, textured paste, clock parts etc), tools (rulers, set squares, compasses) along with decisions on colour, shape, tone and subject matter. She will also choose what words, phrases or quotes, if any, to add.
When you see Shelley’s paintings you will no doubt recognise her definitive style, whether they belong to her landmark series (Cornish or London), or to her landscape and seascape series (Porthmeor, Kernow, Harbour or Time & Tide).
As Shelley says: “I moved permanently to Cornwall after the birth of my first child because of the jaw-dropping quality and purity of light that it provides. When I paint, I find myself blending images of steel furnaces and coal mines from my northern roots with the contrasting beauty of Cornwall.”
Shelley sells original paintings, signed limited edition prints and art cards. She is also available for commissions.
Her work is found in private and corporate collections in Europe and Asia.
She is a member of the National Acrylic Painters’ Association (NAPA) and an Associate of the Penwith Society of Artists.
If you are interested in an existing work or would like to commission a bespoke piece of artwork of your own, please contact Shelley Thornton.