Shelley was born in Mefort, Saskatchewan and grew up on army bases across Canada. She loved creating from an early age and spent hours drawing. She entered the Visual and Performing Arts program at Ladner Secondary School. She came to Port Alberni in 1974.
Shelley enrolled in The Vancouver School of Art, which later became the Emily Carr College of Art. After two years she left as she didn't like the instruction. From 1982-1985 she joined the Federation of Canadian Artists and took their weeklong workshops on Saltspring Island, learning practical skills and techniques. She has taught classes in Drawing and Watercolour for Parks and Recreation for over 20 years. In 1988 she won an Award of Merit at the B.C. Festival of the Arts, Pacific Region Juried Art Show.
Shelley shifted from watercolour to acrylic on stone plaques and has had great success . A gift from a friend inspired her to try painting on canvas and try airbrushing. She instantly loved it, and now most of her canvasses begin with an airbrushed background.