Shelly Prior

Shelley Prior: Pet Portraits in Watercolor


Video Length: 3 Hours 10 Minutes
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Here’s a peek at what Shelley Prior brings to you in this video:

  • Don’t just put paint on paper … create a feeling and a mood in your work
  • Better identify value and color temperature
  • The best way to add softness 
  • Have a better understanding of watercolor paints and how you can make them behave
  • Sharpen your observation skills (you’ll be able to apply this to your own paintings right away)
  • The special formula for creating a peaceful feel
  • How masking can save you a lot of time and achieve better results
  • Different wet-into-wet and dry-into-dry techniques (they both have tremendous value)
  • Properly paint light and shadow … not as difficult as it may seem
  • How to soften textures so they don’t interfere with the rest of the painting
  • Why Shelley uses two brushes for toning down harsh features (now you’ll know how to do this, too)
  • Can a synthetic brush help you paint faster and finish quicker? (Shelley answers this question)
  • Do this to your brush for the best results — you’ll wish you would have already known
  • And more…


When a painting showcases softness and light, it brings a wonderful sense of peace and calm to all who see it. This is exactly what artist Shelley Prior teaches in this watercolor course.

For the past 30 years, Shelley has been a professional artist and art instructor. This powerhouse combination allows her to teach you the lessons of a lifetime on subjects such as identifying value, color temperature, and of course, softness. You’ll finish the course with a much better understanding of watercolor as a medium and you’ll have a keener sense of observation skills that will help you create higher quality paintings.

Shelley shows you her best techniques for using a photo reference while still capturing a feeling or mood — something many artists never learned, creating a hesitancy to use photographs. Here, you’ll see how photos can work to your greatest advantage.

A straightforward and practical-minded teacher, Shelley’s step-by-step approach is beneficial to every level of artist. Paint right along with Shelley and you will achieve very similar results. Then, you can apply these same strategies to your next painting in order to achieve an accurate likeness, the right values, hard and soft edges, and much more.

In this video, Shelley is solving some of the biggest challenges artists face when painting animal portraits. She’ll show you how to soften your edges, balance texture with detail, utilize the white space of the paper to your advantage, and ways to control your watercolor while letting it do what it does so beautifully.

This course will help you get better, more satisfying results with your art because you’ll no longer struggle with getting stiff, over-detailed paintings when using a photo as a reference.

Shelley says that one of the biggest takeaways from this video is you do not need to define everything. Great paintings leave some obscurity, as well as detail. You want viewers of your work to engage with the story you’re telling through the painting.

Shelley shares her reliable method for keeping the right amount of moisture in an area where she’s adding color in order to create softer details. Once you see Shelley do this, you’ll want to try it out for yourself on your next painting.

Don’t miss one minute of Shelley’s expert advice and direction as she shares what has helped her become an award-winning artist.


Bonuses Included with Video:

  • High Speed View™ of the demonstration painting set to music — it’s fun to watch the painting develop
  • Exhibit of Works: View an inspirational collection of Shelley’s paintings 
  • Interview with the Artist: Eric Rhoads conducts an in-studio interview with Shelley to explore her work as an artist and instructor


Chapter Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Materials & Tools
  3. Review and Transfer the Reference: Get an accurate likeness
  4. Preserve Whiskers and Tiny Hairs
  5. First Washes
  6. Soft Glazing
  7. Build Texture and Form
  8. Final Details and Adjustments: Paint fur in light and shadow, eyes, and nose … what details to leave in and make stronger, and what to leave to the viewer’s imagination

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Charles Arthur
Shelley Prior: Pet Portraits in Watercolor

I have followed Shelly for more than a year, painting along with her at every opportunity. I learn something new every time. I find her teaching is more than just showing how to paint with watercolor, she focuses on why things are done the way they are. In my mind, she's the best!!

Nanci Thomas



Clear and concise information that is valuable to all levels. I have learned so much from this book and this author as a whole. This is a very valuable investment in your art career. Definitely recommend.