I am greatly influenced by the beauty of nature, music, the miracle of life, and faith in God. I create what interests me and let my imagination decide where to go and how to get there. The use of color is a magical endeavor that takes control of my work whether I am working on an abstract, landscape, seascape, nostalgic subject, or something whimsical. Working in Watercolor, Acrylic, Pencil, Mixed Media Collage, and digital Photography I become completely immersed in the world I am creating. Creativity flows from the heart of God to the hand of the artist.
Shiela Vestal-Akin was born in Oregon Illinois in 1959. Shortly thereafter her family moved to Missouri. Her early childhood was spent in the small college town of Kirksville. Her first introduction to art came from local college students who would sit in her elementary school yard and sketch the town water tower. After school she would look over their shoulders and ask more questions than they had time to answer. She then determined to be an artist and sold her first piece of art at the age 9 for $1.00 which only increased her desire to work hard to be an artist. In 1970 her family moved to Sedalia which is the home of Missouri the State Fair. She was not interested in the midway but would rather visit the animal barns, home economics and art buildings. Having grown up in both Northern and Central Missouri she developed a love of small towns, nature and farming. She was fortunate to have wonderful art teachers in elementary and high school who taught the basic elements of art and nurtured her creativity. Shiela attributes her sense of whimsy and nostalgia to her visits to her Grandmother’s dairy farm and to her very comical Grandmother.
Shiela studied Early Childhood Education at the University of Missouri and Psychology at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri. She studied fine art at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin Missouri where her painting Misty Morning was accepted and published in the annual school art journal The Winged Lion. She received a Bachelors of Art from Columbia College with a Psychology major and minors in fine art and education. She spent 20 years teaching in preschools and directing childcare facilities. Helping children develop their full potential in both life and creativity is still of great importance to her.
Shiela has been working as a professional artist since 2002 and is owner of Shiela Vestal-Akin Creative Studio. She has been married 42 years to Kenneth Akin. They have 3 sons and 3 sweet granddaughters. She lives in Rockford Illinois.
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