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About me

Worlds of Whimsy: My Artistic Playground

I was born in the vibrant and exciting São Paulo and adopted the serene Australian landscape as my second home. São Paulo imprinted in me excitement, colour and rhythm. It shaped how I use movement in my artwork. Australia gave me space and the chance to experience the changes of the seasons. I became the gardener my soul yearned for. I slow down, observe and honour the changes in my garden. It brings a freshness to mind that I try to replicate in my artworks.  

My art has always been a way for me to capture the magic of the world around me. When I am creating art I enter the enchanting and playful world of nature. Characters come to life. A frog can become a hat, a tree branch become a stage for animals to watch a miniature TV, a trail of ants become a pattern. It’s a wonderful world of magic where imagination dances with nature.

Have you ever paused and looked at a flower or an insect and seen a portal to another world? Or felt nature’s movements and rhythms in the brushstrokes of a painting? When I do, my imagination and curiosity shifts to childlike excitement. I create fascinating worlds in my mind with no barriers or hurry.

A photo of Shirlei Barnes

Morning Rituals: Where Art Blooms

My father's photography career infused a curiosity of how to use light and shadow in my work. I have learned with him to stop and look the subject in front of me from many angles. He taught me to figure out how to use light to lead the viewer to the main subject in my artwork.  

I lose myself in the fantastical worlds of video games. Their vibrant landscapes and entrancing narratives entice me to explore new mediums. I adore going on an expedition exploring the landscape and the characters. The softness and colours in contrast to the movements are stimulating. Video games inspired me to learn and have fun with digital art.

I love drawing in the mornings. It brings me joy, because I am free and fresh. My mind is open to experiment with playful patterns. Sometimes I play with loose patterns by repeating it. Sometimes I create a character from shapes and textured patterns. There are days I explore movement and entanglements using light and shade. This morning ritual inspired me to try ways to sell my artwork in textile and gift-ware. I created a set of nature patterns and decided to try them on clothing for the website LeGaleriste. I worked on a collection inspired by nature and had fun naming them.  “Vine quest”, “Lush” and “Blossom” I am excite to see where it takes me.

I've worked for over twenty years in the health sector. It influenced my focus on mindfulness and art therapy. In 2021, I wanted to create a way for people to use my art as a form of therapy. I created a series of drawings and published a colouring book.

If there is one thing I know about my art and my mind is how it calms me. I’ve learned to take one step at the time, see the small parts of the full picture. Build a full image from a vast collection of movements, colours and texture. For me this is therapy, I am in the moment and nothing else matters. After a session with my art I am a better version of myself. I hope my book can be a tool to render calm and present sense of being on people using it.

Publishing my first book tested my experience in communication and graphic design. Since the publication I felt confident in my art. I decided to take part on a local art exhibition. One of my watercolour paintings, “The Reader”, won the third award for the people’s choice. It has prompted me to think about a second book. Knowing that people chose my painting made my heart sing.

A watercolour painting of botanical art.
I invite you to explore my website further.

The gallery highlights some of my work. The shop gives you the opportunity to buy my artwork on wearable or gift ware. You can watch some of my videos on YouTube, and follow me on social media. Either way I would love to hear from you!

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