Artist Shirley Woodson: Life captured in bold strokes

Artist Shirley Woodson described how she works: “I pay attention to blues, I listen to jazz.”

“Does what you happen to be listening to inspire the portray?” asked correspondent Rita Braver, Get Auto Repair.

“Oh, surely, absolutely. A further coloration, a extra brilliant color. That translation, that interpretation is part of what goes on.”

There is certainly a good deal heading on in Woodson’s paintings: Daring strokes and vivid colours are hallmarks of her style.

Detail from Shirley Woodson’s “I will Be Looking at You No. 2” (1996). Acrylic on canvas.  

Shirley Woodson


Braver explained, “When I noticed your perform, I assumed, this is carried out by some wild female. She much be just out there. And then, I achieved this beautiful schoolteacher. What is actually likely on?”

“Perfectly, I multi-job,” she laughed.

And now, this 85-12 months-outdated-multi-tasker’s operate is staying celebrated in her 1st just one-woman present at her hometown museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Shirley Woodson’s “Flight With Mirror” (2014). Acrylic on Canvas. 

Shirley Woodson


The show, composed of paintings that Woodson produced more than 3 decades, is called “Protect of the Nile Reflections,” which she states highlights the river’s significance to civilization.

Describing her 1984 operate “Protect of the Nile No. 2,” Woodson mentioned, “I wanted to area these figures in an ecosystem of therapeutic, of restoration, of enjoyment — all the items that water signifies, Get Auto Repair.”

Correspondent Rita Braver and artist Shirley Woodson with her perform, “Defend of the Nile No. 2” (1984).  

CBS Information


The paintings show some of Woodson’s recurring themes: h2o, fish, shells, horses, and human beings, often painted with no facial characteristics. “I place the viewer to work,” she stated, “to keep them imagining, just to say, ‘Well, why didn’t she put in a experience in there?'”

Her get the job done “September Wave” incorporates a modest self-portrait of Woodson together with her late husband, Edsel Reid, an art collector and curator. The two satisfied following he observed a person of her functions.

“September Wave” (2013) by Shirley Woodson. Acrylic on Canvas. 

Shirley Woodson


Braver questioned, “So, did he want to meet you?”

“Oh, yes, oh, certainly. And he purchased a painting!”

“The way to a woman’s coronary heart?”

“Totally, this woman’s coronary heart!” Woodson laughed.

Shirley Woodson. 

CBS News


The pair experienced two sons. Woodson, who examined artwork at Wayne Condition College, and the University of the Art Institute of Chicago, put in 26 several years instructing artwork to both equally large college and school students.

Braver asked, “Your do the job was marketing. Your perform was being obtained by some museums. Why did you keep training while you were being even now significantly portray?”

“Instructing and performing as an artist for me was like two-fold a single kind of fed into the other,” she replied. “I just liked viewing folks grow. And I was learning via the system as nicely. I painted at night, I painted practically in each individual home of the dwelling.”

In actuality, she explained, her paintings test to replicate the way we all juggle several things in our minds:  “You’re considering about what happened this morning, you know, you have received to decide on the young ones up, or you bear in mind this, so all of these issues are going on.”

Woodson has received quite a few regional and nationwide awards, nevertheless she believes that recognition has arrive little by little to her, as very well as to other girls artists of shade.

“Do you believe it really is been discrimination, in a way?” asked Braver.

“Of class.”

“On the a person hand, it is so fantastic that you have a solo exhibition at what is possibly the most prestigious artwork gallery in Detroit. On the other hand, what took them so extensive?”

“Nicely, they are not the only ones,” Woodson laughed. “It is about survival.  It is really about preserving those objectives that you have in play, and proceeding, shifting ahead, Get Auto Repair.”

A element from “Reflections and Flowers” (2006) by Shirley Woodson. Acrylic on canvas.  

Shirley Woodson


For extra facts:

Tale generated by Sara Kugel. Editor: George Pozderec. 

Kenneth Proto

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