The Artist

Bio picture from may eleven twothousandtwelve New England Artist, ShawnaLee, creates portraits done by hand in the time honored way utilizing pencils, charcoals, and oils.

More than just a Portrait moment caught in time, I have always loved and been intrigued by how some portraits capture so much more than “just the looks” of a subject – but the personal character within. This challenge to find inner spirit has been the driving force behind my Pet and Child portraiture my whole life. I strive to find this defining spirit through pencils or paintbrushes –whether I am working in Graphite, Charcoal, Watercolors, Pen & Ink, or Oils.”  ShawnaLee’s style reflects a realistic fine arts approach that receive enthusiastic remarks from her clients for her ability to capture her subject’s heartwarming spirit.  Portraits of dogs, cats, children, landscapes, and homes are frequently commissioned in a variety of artist’s media.

ShawnaLee is adept at weaving Native New England Grapevine Baskets & Bowls.basket

As a lifelong artist, her work has been recognized and published since childhood through bulletin board art shows to scoring the highest in High School AP by drawing “Horses, of Course”! She went on to graduate Cum Laude from Western Connecticut State University earning a BA in Studio Art and Graphic design/Illustration.

Publications include Arts & Activities, WCSU Alumni Front Cover, Equine Vision, Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, The Equine Image, Connecticut Horse Magazine, Massachusetts Horse Magazine, Connecticut Magazine and Taproot Journal in addition to local CT news and social media. Awards have been garnered from events such as the Draft Horse Classic Art Show, Richter Association for the Arts, Watertown Art League, and Oxford Commission for the Arts. Her work has been collected throughout the US.   Murals may be viewed at the Middlebury Congregational Church & Danbury Animal Welfare Society. ShawnaLee has participated in live sketch demonstrations for Pet Protectors, Inc., Watertown Art League, Whiskers Pet Rescue, News Channel 12’s Pet Talk program (7/7/13), the Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists, Manes & Motions & Hidden Acres therapeutic riding centers, and Pound Posse TV etc.

ShawnaLee has been sharing the love of drawing and painting her whole life. As youth art director and instructor at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, she taught courses and built programs dedicated to the arts prior to moving to Middlebury Ct. ShawnaLee now offers a variety of semiprivate courses year-round.


DAWS Greeting Room Mural Detail

ShawnaLee supports local equestrian trails, animal welfare etc.  Her art has benefited the Danbury Animal Welfare Society, Moore Humane Society of North Carolina, Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue, Middlebury Congregational Church, Pet Protectors, Inc., Hidden Acres Therapeutic Riding Center and more. Visit DAWS to view the Greeting Room Mural.

Love what I do & would love to support an artist?

Memberships include the Woodbury Arts Alliance, Arts & Culture Collaborative Waterbury Region, Richter Association for the Arts, Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists, Middlebury Bridle Land Association, CT Horse Council & Volunteer Horse Patrol and Girl Scouts of CT.

Between commissions, ShawnaLee enjoys sketching her children, photographing the wildlife happenings in her yard, sewing clothes for her daughter’s dolls, taking her Girl Scout troop on adventures, riding & walking the local trails, and the endless pursuit of creating! ?

Anna sketch with bunnare you okDSC_0135DSC_0006 (2)


red cropped

A detail of a Cat Portrait rendered in mixed crayon layers when ShawnaLee was about 6 years old. This was a beloved family cat at Grandma’s house.

In my earliest years,  I drew many pictures of our family cats.  As the years came and went, I found myself excelling in art, and compelled to create portraits of all our family pets.  In High school, I earned the highest score in my AP Arts classes while painting & selling T-shirts through craft fairs.  As an entrepreneur, I also supported local not-for-profit causes with my art.  I was commissioned to create portraits of children, horses, dogs and cats.  The commissions continued as I studied Illustration and printmaking in college while teaching and developing art courses for Children at a local Guild.

A new Chapter of Pet Portraiture began with a large group of feral kitties that were in need of care in 2010. The Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS) neutered, spayed, vaccinated, and medicated all the cats with respect and care. Their Motto is “Making a Difference~ One Animal at a time ~ One Adoption at a time ~ One Volunteer at a time” and they truly live up to these words.

As the feral crisis was coming to an end, Donna Esposito of DAWS inquired: “I just noticed your email says artist. We have been doing some renovations at the shelter….” and after much collaboration, a mural was underway. I received hundreds of photographs of pets that had been adopted through DAWS and incorporated many into the mural.
Every year now, I donate a portrait to support their fundraising through their DAWS BALL event, have attended the Walk for Animals, and serve as a DAWS “Partner”:

In addition to helping DAWS, I have also helped out the Moore Humane Society in North Carolina, the CT Draft Horse rescue, Pet Protectors Inc., Martha’s Voice, Hidden Acres Therapeutic Riding Center, Manes and Motions therapeutic riding center, Volunteer Horse Patrol and Whiskers Pet Rescue etc..  In recent years, I demonstrate painting an oil painting of one of their therapy horses for Hidden Acres Night of Caring.

Help me to continue supporting Animal Welfare with my portraiture! Your support truly helps make a difference! I will be able to purchase better quality art materials!