Shae Zoe Reardon

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Shae Reardon is a multimedia artist whose creative work ranges from traditional media of graphite and charcoal to oil paint. Shae is born and raised in Southern California and is inspired by the natural world around her. While exploring California’s diverse landscapes, she gathers ideas and references for her work. She is fascinated not only by the scenery of these places but also the plant life that is seen at close range. The process of her work includes an intimate examination of subjects in strong light sources while echoing its organic shape. She brings these rather small flowers and plants into full scope and presents the viewer with an eye-catching view of various hues and values. Shae developed this style while studying at Cal State San Marcos as an art student. Soon she developed a body of work that has been in various local art exhibitions and later in private collections.


As I spend my time in California, one thing is very apparent to me and that is the wide range of biodiversity. I am intrigued by not only the landscape but the plants within it.

My trips revolve around documenting the plant life seen at close range and presenting the viewer with an in-depth perspective. This body of work, it focuses on my time in Anza Borrego State Park. I carry my camera and document every flower or plant that piques my interest. My first work titled “Apricot Mallow” is comprised of two native plants I stumbled upon by Pena Spring in early spring. I spotted this composition by the vibrant coral-pink mallows that caught the corner of my eye. It was slightly off-trail and the mallows were in full bloom. While documenting my encounter with the prickly pear and mallows, I continued my experience in the studio. Blowing up the scale on a 40×30” canvas, I began to see the different stages of growth for the cactus through the various hues and values. For this work, I wanted to exaggerate the subtle changes of blue with the complimentary color of the orange-like hue of the apricot mallows.

For the work titled “Blazing Star”, the experience leads back to my time hiking Cactus Loop Trail near Tamarisk Grove. This was during peak bloom this year as I encountered countless new plant life I have never seen before. I discovered the species of this plant through my California plant guide and it is named the white-bract blazing star. As a rather small subject, I used an appropriate camera lens to capture the details of the blooming cluster. While creating this work in the studio space, I wanted to focus not only on blowing this work up in scale but focusing on the extremely small details of the plant like the fuzz on the buds or the structure of the center of the flowers. I wanted to realistically capture the essence of this plant. The composition has an upward flow from the slight s curve and keeps the viewer’s eye going up and down. Three flowers felt visually appealing and gave the work a more asymmetrical, dynamic feel. This flower is special due to the small amount of time that it thrives in the desert. The flowers latest about 2 months as the desert heat is brutal to a lot of the blooms.

My latest painting, “Rose Globemallow” recalls my experience of hiking out east of Anza Borrego. This was during peak super bloom and I was incredibly overwhelmed how colorful the landscapes were. The desert was scattered with floral diversity and it was illuminating. While speaking to the state park employee, she said she had never seen a bloom like this in 30 years of working there. Hiking here, there was an stunning presence of red orange apricot mallows. They were everywhere. That is why these uniquely colored Rose Globemallows really caught my attention. I only spotted these once during my whole trip. The uniqueness is what drew me to later paint this composition.

Works by Shae Zoe Reardon

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