After being deeply involved with the art community in Southern California for over 20 years, Shelley Rugg is re-emerging as a portrait artist in West Marin. She has always enjoyed drawing faces and as a girl she would spend hours drawing the faces of people in her world and imagination. Her endless fascination with all the permeations of form and color that make each individual unique are why Shelley loves to paint people and animals. Much deeper than that though, is a response through the act of creation itself that is on an intuitive level, and allows her to connect with the psychology and soul, or being essence of an individual. Rugg studied drawing and painting at California State University Long Beach, and while there, gained a deeper appreciation for figurative work from instructors John Lincoln and Dominique Cretara. She is inspired by the work of artists such as Alice Neel, David Hockney, Lucian Freud, and Richard Diebenkorn.
Rugg’s current body of work investigates the faces of “Dreamers” who, from Shelley’s perspective, are people who took a stand against social and other injustices, and put themselves out on a limb to make a difference. Part of the series includes images of the white female Freedom Riders who were arrested in 1961 for riding on a bus seated next to black men. Shelley also seeks commissions for portraits, working from life or from photos in charcoal or acrylic.