Shelly Cox-Vandermeulen

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Shelly is a contemporary realist oil painter who lives and works in the horse community of Jupiter Farms, Florida, USA. Born in Kentucky, Shelly has returned to her roots with the Westerns In Wood collection. While Shelly did graduate from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale Florida with a degree in commercial illustration, she is a self-taught oil painter. With a relentless desire to advance her skill, Shelly works regularly with her mentor Living Master Tina Garrett and attends workshops with the top realist artists of today.
Westerns In Wood is the collaboration between the husband-and-wife team of Shelly and Greg Vandermeulen. Greg is a firefighter who enjoys working with wood while Shelly has been painting professionally for many years.  She continues to sign her work in her maiden name, Cox.  Currently Shelly has combined her love for painting the figure and portraits with education. She has a thriving YouTube channel which focuses on teaching portraiture and offers step-by-step painting tutorial videos. You will find the artist is in her studio daily working on her Westerns In Wood collection unless she is on location shooting her reference photos.  This series of westerns reflects Shelly’s longing to live in the West surrounded by the mountains and the Cowboy’s way of life. She wants people to remember American heritage with focus on the more positive aspects.  The artist also believes she is paying tribute and honoring the Native American heritage by painting them and helping people to remember their way of life and how it was tied closely to nature. Shelly spends time researching her Native subjects to be sure she is being respectful and capturing even the smallest detail correctly.  Shelly is a proud member of the Portrait Society of America and American Women Artists,  She has been published in art books and won several awards.


Western themed art is something I have always wanted to paint. It wasn’t until now that I felt my skills are up to the challenge. Oil paint is my medium, but what makes my work unique is the exotic wood accents that my husband and I create. Each painting gets a specially selected wood accent based on its composition and emotion. The wood we source is reclaimed. No trees have been harmed in the making of my art!Traveling to photo shoots where I can get my own reference images of cowboys and ranch life is a priority for my work. This includes rodeos and pow wows. From my latest travels, I have planned 19 paintings for my series Westerns In Wood. Each one tells a story of American life from about the mid 1800’s. While my work depicts realism, I let my bold brush strokes stand proudly for a painterly look. Experimenting with mark making is my favorite part of this process.Growing up in Kentucky and spending Summers at my grandparent’s farm, I experienced a taste of this lifestyle firsthand. Memories that fuel my work today.

Works by Shelly Cox-Vandermeulen

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