Shelby Keefe

Shelby Keefe

Minnesota Zephyr
9 x 12 in

About The Artist

Shelby Keefe

Even as a young child, Shelby Keefe knew she was an artist. Coming from a family of artists and crafters in rural Wisconsin, she was encouraged to draw and paint and always had plenty of inspiration for making her artwork. After earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1981, she embarked upon a career in graphic design. Moving to Milwaukee for school opened a whole new world for her, and Shelby fell in love with the urban landscape.

Though most of her time was spent as a graphic designer and single mother of two boys, she was always passionate about painting and made time to create her work. By doing group exhibitions, art fairs, and commission work, she gradually gained the attention of enough collectors and was able to retire from graphic design in 2005 to work full-time as a fine artist. As her reputation grew, she became sought after as an instructor, teaching workshops around the country and serving as faculty for the annual Plein Air Convention and Expo. 
A consistent award-winner, Shelby has participated in museum shows, top-tiered plein air painting competitions and has attained Signature Status in Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, and American Women Artists. 


“I am passionate about drawing and depicting my subjects with honesty as well as expressiveness. My goal is to create a fresh perspective to the recognizable world without being predictable or mundane. Being comfortable at rendering in oil paint, I enjoy tackling complex subjects from cityscapes to the figure in the ala prima method of wet on wet.  Utilizing a vibrant underpainting technique of complimentary colors, my oil paintings are complex, but not overly-worked. As I continue to grow as a representationalist painter, I plan to develop my ability to say more with less.”    



2021, Best Historic Subject, New Bern Plein Air, New Bern, NC
2021, Best Vanishing Landscape, Gouchester Arts Festival, Glouchester, VA
2019, Best of Show, Cedarburg Art Museum, “Night Owls” theme show, Cedarburg, WI
2019, Best Body of Work, Awarded by Western Art Collector, Cowgirl Up! Wickenburg, AZ
2018, Award of Distinction, American Impressionist Society, National Juried Exhibition
2017, Matisse Award of Excellence, Vanishing Landscape Award and Judges Choice Award, Olmsted Plein Air Invitational, (3 awards for one painting), Atlanta GA
2016, Distinctive Merit Award, 18th Annual Laguna Plein Air Invitational, Laguna Beach, CA 
2016, First Prize-Quick Draw, Plein Air Easton!, Easton, MD
2015, Grand Prize Winner, EnPlein Air Texas, San Angelo, TX
2015, Awarded $20,000 Dorothy Dreihaus Melins Fellowship for Midwestern Artists, at Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition
2019–2013 Faculty and Presenter for Annual Plein Air Convention and Expo, various locations
2013, Grand Prize Winner, 2nd Annual PleinAir Magazine Salon Competition, (awarded $15,000) 
2012, Best Painting with an Architectural Subject, Easels in Frederick, Frederick, MD
2012, Best of Show and PleinAir Magazine Award, Wayne Plein Air Festival, Wayne PA

2021, “Elements” section, PleinAir Magazine, feature piece on principles of perspective, Feb/March issue
2020, Women in Plein Air, PleinAir Magazine, feature piece on 7 women artists, April/May issue
2015, Cover and Featured artist, SouthwestArt magazine, March issue 
2015, Featured in “Three to Watch” Fine Art Connoisseur, June issue
2013, Cover and Featured artist, PleinAir Magazine, September issue
2012, Artist Spotlight, PleinAir Magazine, November issue



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