Shelley Hull

Denver, CO Website | Instagram | View All Works

I studied drawing at Philadelphia College of Art in Philadelphia in high school, and majored in fine art at Yale University as an undergraduate. I earned an MFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art, in 1979.

I grew up in the east, outside of Philadelphia, but traveled to New Mexico to visit family beginning in the 1970s. When I visited I would paint and sketch and began a deep relationship with southwestern landscape and culture. I began visiting ruins and exploring the history of native cultures as well as the landscape. I always painted the New Mexico landscape when we visited throughout the years. I taught at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation summer program for gifted high school students two summers in the late 90s and was able to spend time when I was not teaching sketching in southern Colorado, reinforcing the connection to the southwest.

Often the art I made was influenced by my landscape studies and paintings of the southwest, but landscapes were not the ‘main show’. I made boxes that combined painting and found objects, I did collage collaborations, I drew a series of auto parts diagrams using gold paint, and made secular icons influenced by early New Mexico retablos during the 80s and 90s. When I moved to Denver in 1997 I was able to travel and explore the southwest more regularly. Southwestern landscapes have become ‘the main show’. Hiking, exploring, and sketching in the landscape has become intertwined with my studio work.

Painting contemporary southwest landscapes, allows me to combine my great love of hiking in the southwest, and my enduring need to draw and paint. The pull of the southwest landscape fascinates me; I am not entirely sure why it is so compelling to me and I feel the need to paint it and figure out its hold on me.


I am a contemporary western landscape artist. I find inspiration in the landscape of the southwest and mountain west, whose color, light and vastness move me in ways no other landscape does. The landscape draws me in and speaks to me in a deeply personal way. Coming to the southwest was like ‘coming home’. I sketch outside, take notes & photos as I hike. While the art I make is informed by my explorations outdoors, the paintings are almost always done in-studio. The experience outside is a critical one but only a first stage.

I respond to the landscape with my studio explorations. I also ‘converse’ with other artists while making my paintings. There are artists whose visions excite, challenge, taunt, and inspire me when I paint the landscape. Some of the time I am thinking ‘this is in response to seeing X’s paintings’; artists such as David Hockney, Loraine Stephanson, Fairfield Porter, Pierre Bonnard, Arthur Dove, and Lois Dodd. My paintings are contemporary landscape paintings that reflect the terroir, the sound, light, and energy that is uniquely southwestern.

Works by Shelley Hull

View All Works by Shelley Hull