Shirley Trevena has always pushed the boundaries of watercolour and is regarded as one of Britain’s most innovative watercolourists. Shirley breaks the conventional rules of watercolour in many different ways: through her bold compositions, unusual perspectives, fascinating textures an, above all, the strength and vibrancy of her colour combinations.
“Since I resigned from my planning job over 25 years ago to become a full-time artist, I have had the most wonderful adventure in discovering what marks I want to put onto paper and how to make colours sing.
I enjoy working with watercolours and mixed media, my subject matter mainly still life, but I have been known to branch out into abstract landscape, monoprinting, collage and pen and ink work.
I have a sort of love-hate relationship with painting. I would rather do anything than start a painting: clean the oven, make lists or even do the ironing. But once I’m in the studio and the first marks are on the white paper, I go into a world of my own, oblivious of everything except colour and form. I find my creativity so hard to start up and even harder to walk away from.
In 1994 I became a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and was an elected member of the RI Council, (1995-1999) and was re-elected for the period 2001-2004. In my first year I won the prestigious Winsor & Newton Award and in my second year I won the Llewellyn Prize. In 2007 I won the John Blockley Prize and In 2017 I won the Winsor & Newton Award for the second time.
I exhibit each year at the Mall Galleries, London and at the Sussex Watercolour Society’s exhibitions. In 2010 I exhibited as a special guest at the 7th International Watercolour Festival in Antwerp, Belgium. In 2011 I exhibited as one of 5 international watercolour artists at the St Cyr sur Mer Biennale in the south of France. In 2014 I was a finalist in the World Watercolour Competition. In 2016 I exhibited as one of the invited ‘top 20 foreign watercolour Master artists of the world’ in the International Watercolour Exhibition in Jimo Qingdao, China. In 2018 I exhibited in Masters of Watercolour 2018 in St Petersburg, the largest international watercolour exhibition in Russia. My new work can now be seen through Nicholas Bowlby Fine Art.
In 2004 my first book was published by Harper Collins called ‘Breaking the Rules of Watercolour’, which was shortlisted for the ‘Artist Choice Book of the Year 2005’, and has sold over 25,000 copies. My second book on colour, ‘Vibrant Watercolours’, was published in October 2006 and was also shortlisted for the ‘Artist Choice Book of the Year 2007’. My third book ‘Breaking the Rules of Watercolour’ was published in February 2012. I have produced 3 DVDs, Taking Risks with Watercolour, Breaking the Rules of Watercolour and ‘My World of Watercolours’. My fourth book ‘Shirley Trevena’s Watercolours’ was published in June 2015.
My work has been featured in other books including L’Art de L’Aquarelle (France), Artists Manual, Art Class and Masters of Watercolour (Russia) and in magazines including The Artist, Artist & Illustrator, Leisure Painter, The Art of Watercolour, Watercolour Artist (USA) and Insight (Australia)”.