The American West has always held a sense of mystique for me. I love its diverse colors and geological features, such as desert blooms, caverns and caves, red rock, lava flows, hidden coves, ancient forests, and golden hills. I also appreciate how well the native plants and animals have adapted so uniquely to their environment.
As a lifelong traveler I’ve enjoyed many adventures throughout the West with my husband, Rich. We love hiking off the beaten path where I’m immersed in nature, and always inspired to paint something new.
Rich took the photo featured on this page when we visited the beautiful Artist’s Palette in Death Valley. It serves as my inspiration, and lives up to its name — featuring a spectrum of colors in this single hillside!
To create artwork that brings viewers on an artistic journey, celebrating the explorer in all of us – while sharing the beauty of nature and encouraging its preservation for future generations.
To share my paintings and their stories….for fun, reflection, and enjoyment.
For fans who want to add some Western Trails to their own lives: I offer high-quality, affordable reproductions of my paintings, which are produced by two specialized online vendors. Wall hanging artwork is available as canvas reproductions and museum quality prints. Personal products include mugs, coasters, totes, decorative pillows, and more.
My Painting Style
I’d classify my paintings as Nature Art…with a dash of whimsical, folksy flair.
I blend vivid colors with neutrals like you find in nature. Being detailed my work fits into a style in the ‘Realism’ family. However, I always add playful elements of fantasy into each creation, like the scenery you’d see on a Thunder Mountain ride at Disneyland.
I love to paint nature found in the Western United States, including deserts, rolling hills, canyons, coastal sage scrub communities, the Pacific Ocean and such. I often paint scenery that inspired me while out trekking.
You’ll find bees buzzing around a manzanita tree; a snake slithering near some boulders; or a Cactus Wren perched proudly on a patch of prickly pear.
I tend to paint subjects that are up close to me, rather than distant landscapes. By bringing nature close to the viewer, I hope to remind us of how connected we are to it, and remind us of its beauty.
The little beetle is my signature mark….look closely and you’ll always find her!
My original canvas oil paintings are available through my Gallery as reproductions on canvas, museum quality prints, posters and more. Custom matting and framing options are also offered.
My artwork is also available on mugs, note cards, and other personal gifts in my Gift Shop.
These products are made possible through a high-quality process known as giclee — which allows you to order any of my paintings as a single item or in quantity.
by Heather Rice – Sustainability Educator
“Arid regions of the American West have historically been viewed as desolate landscapes and blank canvases for human development. The Western Trails series illustrates that diverse life forms thrive here—life that is all the more precious because it endures a range of harsh conditions to persevere. It also suggests that there is a profound connection and striking likeness between the natural world and human behavior.
Is Shute evoking magic from the mundane with her animated portrayal of natural phenomena? Let us embody her remarkable curiosity as we take the close-up journey through the microcosms she depicts. We begin with a look at the ubiquitous California state flower: the poppy.”