REYTA Finalist Just Beverley shortlisted nominee o2 community publication award 2017

Shirley Harrison, Shirley and Scruff

Shirley is a local artist, who has seen her name grow as one of the region’s most popular painters of local buildings and landmarks. She has recently made painting her full time passion, after several years of fitting it around her work. Just Beverley caught up with her to hear about her painting process.

I tend to start painting quite early in the day. Especially at this time of year when the weather’s good, I’ll be outside on the patio around 7am taking in the morning sunshine. Seeing all of the flowers in the garden beautifully lit up is really motivating – people comment on how early I start my days but when you’re doing something creative like painting, natural daylight is really important and we’re lucky that we get plenty of it in the British summertime. I don’t want to waste a minute!

I usually have several projects on the go at once, so after spending the morning painting I’ll go out for a walk or a drive and photograph a building I’ve chosen to work on. I’ll get in touch with the owners of the building to let them know I’m planning to paint it too. It makes working on the painting much nicer knowing someone is waiting to see the end result, and eager to display it inside. There are a few paintings I’ve done like this now. The butchers in Hessle has one of my paintings inside, as does Browns in Beverley.

I’ll stand in front of the building and study small details of it really closely, keeping them in mind for when I’m back home and ready to begin painting. I’ll photograph the building too, to remind me of scale and key layout, this makes it a bit easier to refer back to.

I do also make return visits to a building once I’ve begun a painting, although this can be problematic. It took ages to complete the butcher’s painting because every time I went back to see it there was a pram parked outside blocking the area I needed to see! Other times there have been skips in the way, and even a missing flag from a flagpole once meant I had to paint Beverley Building Society with a blank space in the middle, filling it in at a later date!

A painting can take a long time to complete , so it’s never a case of every day being the same. Sometimes I’ll be starting something new, other times I’ll be delivering a finished, framed picture to a customer, but most of the time I’m busy doing the majority of the painting itself.

In the afternoon I’ll often go for a walk around the town. I have my paintings printed onto cards, tea towels and bags too, and while I walk around I carry these in a wicker basket – it’s my mobile shop! People often spot me and realise who I am by the red bow on the basket. I’m easy to spot once you know who I am, and people can buy my products from me there and then.

I still do some fundraising for Breakthrough Breast Cancer in my spare time. This was what I did before I committed to painting full time, so the two roles have swapped and now I’ll dedicate time to this around my painting.

All of my painting takes place in spaces I feel relaxed in. The best place is out in the open countryside, but my patio makes a great outdoor studio too and on days that aren’t as sunny I’ll take to my kitchen. A coffee is always on hand that way!

You can view Shirley’s work on her Facebook page:


11430133 1073168319378377 6116261845731212428 o

Latest from Day in the Life of...

A LIfetime of Building Kitchens - that's Ken Rose of Roses Kitchens

A LIfetime of Building Kitchens - that's Ken Rose of Roses Kitchens

No other kitchen company designs, makes and pre-installs their kitchens to make sure there are no hiccups. And before you ask, no, they don’t do bedrooms or bathrooms! Family business, Roses ...
Les's Change of Career - at 49!

Les's Change of Career - at 49!

Les Tobbell had served 23 years in the military and then worked in Security Management when he decided that his love of helping people to get fit was something he wanted to do full-time. Now he’...


Lynne Auton has always worked out, having attended a gym for the past 25 years, but mainly for cardio to accompany the weekly ballet and tap classes. When she realised that she wasn’t becoming a...


Todays Events

Upcoming Events

Wednesday - 21st

Launch of Easter Tree Festival

St Paul's Church, Tickton

WEA Beverley Latin Language Taster

Friends meeting House, Quaker Lane, Beverley

Thursday - 22nd

Easter Tree Festival

St Paul's Church, Tickton

Classic Classics with Sinfonia Viva

Toll Gavel United Church, Beverley

Saturday - 24th

Beverley Youth Coalition Weekender

Molescroft Pavilion

Black's Beauty Murder Mystery

Beverley Racecourse