Shelwyn was born in London and now lives by the sea in Dorset.
Her artistic training was rather out of the ordinary – training in ecclesiastical art and design at Watts & Co, where her time was spent designing embroidery, fabrics and metalwork under the auspices of one of Britain’s foremost ecclesiastical experts. Her speciality became designing embroidery with a modern slant on high Victorian Gothic. She says her work at Watts had to be lavish, beautiful and elegant, standards are high as the company holds the royal warrant and the very best is expected. “..apart from being fantastic grounding, it was a wonderfully unusual experience”. Shelwyn was painting during this time, of a style apocalyptic in concept, she says she was attracted to art that unsettled and thrilled her.
Her work is vastly different now. She paints in naive style which has been described as a cross between Beryl Cook and LS Lowry but she says the greatest influence on her work has been her husband’s aunt, Joan Gillchrest, a famous Cornish artist now commanding high prices. After she met Joan and saw her work, Shelwyn’s painting style undertook a seismic shift and her paintings attempt to bring the character and charm of the Cornish naive artists to the Wessex landscape, “my paintings now make me smile rather than frighten the life out of me!”
Shelwyn’s first naive paintings were of ecclesiastical buildings, she likes the combination of serious ancient buildings in light-hearted naive style.