Shirley Kleppe has been an artist her entire life. After taking all the art classes and summer art camps she could find in elementary and secondary school, she entered the School of Art at Central Missouri State College, now the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, Missouri. She graduated in three years with a B.S. degree in Art and Biology. After teaching K-12 for two years, she entered the commercial art field, learning advertising, editing, printing, and being the art director for businesses. She later went on to open her own art school and workshops for children through adults. She attended Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona for graduate studies.
She presently is national watercolorist with signature memberships in The National Watercolor Society-“Second Place Award”, Watercolor West, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, Kentucky Watercolor Society-“City Bank Award for Best of Show”, Western Federation of Watercolor Societies-“Best of Show”, Western Colorado Watercolor Society-“Past President’s Award”, and the Arizona Watercolor Society-“Best of Shows”, Honor Chairman. Her awards also include The National Arts Club, “The John Elliott Award, ” The Non-Member Salmagundi Art Exhibition, “The Thomas Moran Award,’ and “Certificate of Merit Award,” The Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, “The Cynthia Goodgal Award,” and The Rocky Mountain Watermedia Exhibition, “Third Place, The Colorado Watermedia Award.” Shirley is also a member of the Mid-Missouri Artists and the Sedalia Visual Art Association. She has exhibited her work in national shows across the United States from coast to coast. Her writings on watercolor have appeared in “The Artist’s Magazine” and “Watercolor Magic.” She has been listed in “Who’s Who In The West, World, American Women, America, and Finance and Industry.” She won a City of Phoenix Art Commission by painting a watercolor used in the 7th Avenue Art Panels.
Shirley holds a current license to race cars with the Sports Car Club of America, Nitrox PADI certification for open water diving, and is a professional African wildlife photographer. She and her husband own Sonic Drive-In hamburger franchises in Arizona.