Emerging Artist | Shirley Novak

Shirley Novak

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Ever since Shirley Novak was a young girl growing up in California, she has loved to garden—following in her grandmother’s footsteps. For more than a decade, in fact, flowers have been Novak’s subject matter of choice. Today she lives in western Colorado and has oodles of flowers, including poppies, sunflowers, roses, and hollyhocks, in her garden. “My garden was planted to be painted,” she says. Novak’s depictions of flowers feature bold, saturated colors and emanate a lively, almost playful spirit. Even though Novak’s flowers hibernate in the winter, they live on in her studio where she re-creates them year round, she says enthusiastically.

One of her artistic goals is to convey her enthusiasm for her blossoming brood to the viewer. “When I go out in the yard and see something blooming, I can’t help but squeal,” she says. “I am always trying to convey that joy and to re-create that excitement in my work.” Her main aspiration for the future is to follow the philosophies of artists like Vincent van Gogh and Gustav Klimt, who were not afraid of their unique voices. Novak is represented by Smith-Klein Gallery, Boulder, CO; Simpson Gallagher Gallery, Cody, WY; Sorrel Sky Gallery, Durango, CO; and The Sylvan Gallery, Charleston, SC.

Featured in “Artists to Watch” February 2004