Fishers Arts Council featured artist Shelley Feeney is no stranger to the city’s arts scene.
The Fishers resident will soon begin her 15th year as an eighth-grade art teacher and art department chair at Fall Creek Junior High in Fishers. Feeney’s paintings will be displayed through Sept. 30 at the The Alcove at The Art Gallery at City Hall. A reception was held for Feeney July 10 and she sold two of her pieces. Some of the remaining 20-plus paintings are oil on canvas and some are on wood.
Feeney started producing paintings after graduating from Indiana University in 2006. She then received her Master of Arts at Anderson University.
“Then with teaching full-time, I put it a little to the side, but recently I’ve picked it back up again,” she said. “I’ve been doing a lot with texture and using my finger for oil paintings instead of a paint brush.”
She started using her finger more to paint approximately 18 months ago. The paintings on display at The Art Gallery are a mixture of finger and brush.
“I still do a lot of florals, landscapes and nature scenes,” Feeney said. “That’s my main subject matter. I like how I can manipulate the paint and try the different textures and color. I’m really inspired by Vincent van Gogh. He’s my favorite artist.”
Feeney said she has worked with Fishers Arts Gallery President Tom Rich to display her students’ artwork for Black History Month for three years. Rich asked if Feeney wanted to display her own work. She had previously done a couple of events through the Fishers Arts Council.
Feeney exaggerates the use of color and texture through the layering of paint.
“When I see Shelley’s paintings, I get drawn into her art,” Rich said. “In one, I am the bee gathering nectar (‘Morning Bloom’). In another (‘Irises in Bloom’), I feel the breeze as it blows across your face. In still another (‘Colors of the West’), I feel the heat as I am climbing. This is what she does. She pulls you in.”
During class, she painted a portrait by brush of Harlej, a police K-9 that was shot and killed on duty in November 2019.
“My students like watching the progression of oil painting on canvas come to life,” said Feeney, who is married with three daughters. “The students enjoyed seeing it start and the textures you can create.”
Feeney gave the portrait to Fishers Police Officer Jarred Koopman.
Feeney applied for a Lilly Teachers Creativity grant but did not receive one. She plans to try again in the next application process.
“I was able to study abroad my senior year at IU,” she said. “I was in Venice, Italy, to study printmaking. I kind of focus more on personal work on painting now, so I want be able to travel Europe by train, capture some photographs and do some plein air paintings of the countryside.”
Born in Cincinnati, Feeney later moved to New Palestine and graduated from high school there. Her paintings can be viewed at fishersartscouncil.org/art-gallery-exhibit.