A native of Boulder, Colorado, Shawn Demarest calls El Rito, NM home. She received a BFA from the University of Colorado with a focus on printmaking and painting, a BA in Mathematics, and a scholarship to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art's program in Lacost, France. Later studies led to an MA in Architecture from SCI-Arc/San Francisco Institute of Architecture. Demarest was the recipient of RACC (Regional Arts and Culture Council) project grants in 2012 and 2015 and a 2018 Professional Development Grant. She received fellowship residencies to Helena Wurlitzer Foundation and Playa Summer Lake. Demarest was an artist in residence at The University Club of Portland and Mojave Natural Preserve. *Demarest has commissioned multi-panel installations in Portland's Rivereast Building and PCC's Southeast Campus Library as well as individual paintings in RACC's Portable Works Collection and others. Demarest moved to New Mexico in 2020 after several years in Portland, Oregon.
My work is place-based. When painting from observation or working from photos and memories, my paintings reflect what I see and how a place feels. At times my paintings depict the seen, visual world and other times I walk a purely intuitive path. In 2023 I rediscovered my love of painting from observation. The experience is a kind of communion with a place in the world. I don’t consider myself a plein air painter, but rather an observer and interpreter. Often my paintings require 3 to 5 sessions at the same location to complete.