Illustration of girl with hair drawn as a forest

A Bright Light in the Desert

ARTIMUSI INTERVIEW WITH SHELLIE DIAL  

Lead image, illustration of girl with hair drawn as a forest
“Forest Girl,” watercolor on cold press

Somewhere in the high desert of Los Angeles County, Shellie Dial is creatively drawing and painting images. In the past year, she has roughed out novel pencil sketches, finished in various mediums, and has emerged as a promising artist along time-tested art genres with all the signs of a mature painter.

In December 4-9, 2020, Shellie showed her work at the Color Me Mine studio in Studio City of greater Los Angeles. The show was a success with some 30 attendees, refreshments, and entertainment by a local acoustic guitarist and vocalist. 

Photo of Shellie Dial’s artwork hanging on the wall inside the Color Me Mine studio.
Shellie Dial’s December show at Color Me Mine in Studio City, California. Photo: Chrissy Stone

In early February, Shellie began submitting her work to Instagram’s, “Birds of a Feather” Challenge. The Challenge is for artists to generate and upload images using a menu of 28 themes, a theme a day, throughout the month. Shellie completed “Backyard Birds” theme, Day 6 (left) in nine hours, from concept  to finish.  For Day 22, Shellie submitted “Spring Chicken” (upper right), completed in three hours.  More recently, Shellie was asked to a illustrate a book cover for The Best Breakup Line I Ever Got, A Young Widow’s Journey to Finding Love Again (lower right), by Teresa Schachtel, expected to be in print soon. 



Artimusi. How would you describe the artwork you do?
Shellie. All over the board. I don’t just have one style. My paintings are sometimes whimsical, sometimes more serious or illustrative. 

Artimusi. What tools do you use in your art from concept to finish?Shellie. I normally paint in watercolor; it’s my very favorite medium. However, I always begin with a pencil drawing. Sometimes I will use ink or pastel pencils also. 

Watercolor of a gnarly old tree with an eye-shape at pruning point
“The Seeing Tree,” watercolor on cold press

Artimusi. Who or what helped you the most to get to this point in your career?
Shellie. I was an art major and always thought I would have a career in art or photography. I was a portrait photographer and then ran a photo lab when I was younger, but ended up becoming a retail manager for a variety of stores and my art was mostly put aside for many years.

Watercolor side view of a big-eyed fish
“Gone Fishin,” watercolor
Whimsical illustration of a chicken dancing to radio music at sunrise
“Dancing Chicken at Sunrise,” pastel pencil

A friend, Melinda, challenged me to paint chickens and share them in text with her when the Pandemic lockdowns began last year. I finally had time, realized how much painting relaxed me, and decided to keep painting and relearn my art skills. 

Artimusi. Where do you do your artwork?
Shellie. At home. I often sit on the couch listening to a sermon or music or a movie while I paint. In the mornings I will work at my desk in my daughter’s room where the sunlight streams in. 

Whimsical illustration of a rotund mermaid playing a tiny guitar
“S-is-for-Selma,” watercolor on cold press

Artimusi. On average, do you create art daily, weekly, monthly?
Shellie. I try to draw or paint something every day. 

Artimusi. Do you sell your artwork? If so, how many pieces would you estimate have sold over the past five or ten years?
Shellie. I did not intend to sell any artwork when I began painting last May 2020, and gave away many to friends and family. However, I began getting lots of requests, and when my friend Dru asked me to do a gallery showing at her studio, I decided it might be time to offer prints for sale. Even with pandemic challenges, the show was very successful and I have continued to receive order requests since it happened in December. 

Watercolor of a beetle atop a flower
“Green Gold Flower Beetle,” watercolor and metallic ink on cold press

Artimusi. Do you have a pricing method, such as size, or are they generally custom? What is your average price? What is the highest priced item sold?
Shellie. I only sell prints so far and I keep my originals. I sell by the size, and will have a set pricing structure when I get my website up and running  very soon. 

Artimusi. Are you showing anywhere now or in the future?
Shellie. Once the lockdowns are completely lifted I will be doing another gallery event in Studio City.

Watercolor illustration of a lit oil lamp atop two books with a spilled salt shaker
“Salt and Light,” watercolor

Artimusi. What are your future, long-term art plans?
Shellie. I paint because it brings me joy and because I have found it brings joy to others. I want to use the talent God gave me and glorify Him with it.  

Artimusi. Is there anyone you would like to credit as a main supporter(s) of your artwork? 
Shellie. My husband is my main supporter. He encourages me constantly and that motivates me to keep going.

Edge-to-edge watercolor illustration of a succulent plant
“Purple Succulent,“ watercolor on hot press

Artimusi. Do you use a website to display your work, such as Zhibit, WordPress, or Facebook?
Shellie. Right now, my prints can be seen on Instagram @shellie.dial.art. A website is in process. I set up a Facebook page solely for my art at: facebook.com/ShellieDialArt

Artimusi. Our thanks to you, Shellie, for sharing your art, your time, and interview Q&A. We commend you to anyone interested in high-quality, hand-drawn illustrations. 


Portrait of Shellie Dial and Jeff Owens
Shellie Dial and Jeff Owens

Originally from New Mexico, Shellie and her husband, Jeff Owens (left), married in 2014 and moved to Palmdale in Los Angeles County, California. She also has a natural eye for desert photography. Both enjoy preparing and cooking speciality foods. 

Contact Shellie via email: shellie.dial@gmail.com.

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