The Road Less Traveled

Shirley Bales, artist

Hi there! I'm Shirley. I am a multi-generational painter. While I was practically born with a paintbrush in hand, I formally studied fine art under an accomplished forensic portrait artist and other notable illustrators in the 1990's. My favorite thing to do is paint outside. I have attended workshops by acclaimed plein air painters, and exclusively painted outside for over 15 years to develop my unique color sensibility. I learned most of my technical knowledge from the Cennini Forum, comprised of forerunners of the Classical Realism Movement. I have participated in multiple group and solo shows winning multiple awards and accolades over the years. My work resides in thousands of private collections nationwide, and I am so grateful. I am now a resident of Colorado Springs, and someday soon I hope to take the show on the road in my new RV and paint Colorado and beyond. Please come along for the ride. Read more about my journey below.

Curriculum Vitae

Shirley Bales (b. 1975, California)

2021  Gratitude, Kreuser Gallery, Colorado Springs, CO
2020  Gratitude, Kreuser Gallery, Colorado Springs, CO
2019  Bite Me-Works Inspired by Food, Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs, CO
2019  Solace-Women of the Trees, Kreuser Gallery, Colorado Springs, CO
2019  First Congregationalist Church Atrium Show, Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs, CO
2018  Reception Gallery Solo Show, Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs, CO
2018  7th Annual Plein Air Convention and Expo Show and Sale, Santa Fe, NM
2017  Alla Prima Westcliffe, Sangres Art Guild, Westcliffe, CO
2017  Plein Air Artists of Colorado Annual Event & Show, SAM Steamboat Art Museum, Steamboat Springs, CO
2016  Victor Celebrates the Arts, Plein Air Event, Victor, CO
2016  Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument Plein Air Show, Florissant National Monument Visitor's Center, Florissant, CO
2016  Honorable Mention, Littleton Plein Air, Depot Art Gallery, Littleton, CO
2015  Victor Celebrates the Arts, Plein Air Event, Victor, CO
2015  PAAC Annual Plein Air Event & Show Grand Lake, Plein Air Artists of Colorado, Grand Lake Gallery, Grand Lake, CO
2011  Land and Light, Plein Air Painters of New Mexico Annual Juried Exhibition, Millicent Rodgers Museum, Taos, NM
2011  NM Art League Enchantment Award, Arts in the Parks, Albuquerque, NM
2007  Little Treasures, Tubac Center for the Arts, Tubac, AZ
2012-2014 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
1994-1998 Riverside Community College, Riverside, California

Plein Air Artists Colorado – Associate Member,  2015-Present
American Impressionist Society – Associate Member, 2019-2021
Plein Air Painter's New Mexico – Associate Member, 2010-2014
Tucson Plein Air Painter's Society –  Associate Member, 2003-2009
SOCAL Papa – Associate Member, 2000-2003


Shirley Bales


"I have always felt there are layers to life"

That one color is not sufficient to express a passage in a painting. Life is nuanced, complicated and surprising. Painting should be a reflection of life. This is the world view that informs my painting process. I am fluent in mixed media, and believe that variety in paint, as in life, is a wonderfully rich experience. Ideally layering thick, thin, opaque, dry, fluid, transparent and everything in between should all work together to make a stronger whole. Hundreds of strokes viewed as one from a distance. However, up close, they are as individual as we are, and each stroke has its place, and is beautiful.

Shirley Bales, artist


Eleven Mile Canyon

Coming soon! A new collection of original art by Shirley Bales Fine Art

Eleven Mile Canyon Blog


While I am hard at work today on my new Eleven Mile Canyon Collection, I thought I would take the time to share a little bit about me.   Growing up...

Do you want to know a little secret??? Part of my painting process is to deep dive into the history of a place. This practice often humbles me, an...

Today I am excited to share with you . . .  a sneak peak of my new Eleven Mile Canyon Collection! Please join me in celebrating the wonder that su...

Testimonials of my Collectors

My wife and I hiked to Dream Lake on our camping trip to Colorado this year. This print arrived today and will be the perfect Christmas gift. Looks amazing.
My daughter's favorite view in Garden of the Gods! It was a gift for her and she loves it. Very nicely framed. Beautiful! Came quickly. Perfect on her wall. Love it!
Extremely beautiful. An impressionist to watch! Very nice seller and stress-free transaction. Packaged with great care.
This item was shipped very carefully, mounted in a high quality frame and is a thing of beauty. I couldn't be more pleased.