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Vibrant Spontaneous Emotional

Growing up in Southern CA, Shirley was surrounded by colorful flowers, koi ponds and gardens, fresh vegetables and a big, closely knit Japanese American family. Her grandfather was a well-known landscape gardener and sculptor, and her grandmother brought over armfuls of fresh flowers or fruit.

Shirley’s lively father Bacon has always been an avid photographer and computer wiz, and at 91 still digs up his entire backyard every year to plant vegetable crops. Mom Ailene handmade award-winning Halloween costumes and is an amazing cook.


With a color-filled childhood which included Japanese dancing (Ondo), and traveling the beautiful sites of the US, it is no wonder that Shirley’s bright and creative roots have instilled a deep LOVE of nature, color and light. 


Composition is key, so there is much preparation and thought before diving in. The rhythm of her painting rises and falls as in music; at times it’s unpredictable and spontaneous, at other times, slow and thoughtful.  Shirley’s palette contains bold color combinations, textures, patterns, and abstract shapes that emanate energy and emotion.


Her process seems to mimic life, as at first glance, she captures the overall highlights and shadows, but after taking a closer look, you can find hidden gems of light, reflections and intricate shapes. We are a lot like that; looking deeper into a person and their past gives us an appreciation of their journey.

”I try to give my subject matter movement and emotion through my loose style and vibrant use of color. There’s a lot of joy to give through my art and I’m so grateful to share this gift with others.”

Shirley Sakatani

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