Shirley moved to Montana in 1971 and started fly fishing her first summer in the West. She soon started painting fly fishing images for galleries in Montana. Shirley was later asked to participate in various Trout Unlimited art auctions. This was the beginning of a 26 year career which has allowed her to combine her love of fly fishing and painting.
Shirley’s work has been profiled in several articles and several magazines including “Wildlife Art News”, “Flyfishers Magazine”, “American Artist” and “Art West”. She is listed in “Who’s Who in American Art” and in Samuel’s “Contemporary Western Artists”.
Shirley received many awards for her work including being selected for the 1992 Association of Northwest Steelheaders stamp/print, the 1990 Oregon Trout stamp/print, and for several “Arts for the Parks” competitions. She has participated in many invitational exhibitions across the U.S. including the Easton (Md.) Academy of the Arts’ “The Art of Flyfishing-A Visual History”, the Missouri Historical Society’s “America in Paint and Bronze” and “Women Artists and the West” at the Tucson Museum of the Arts.
Shirley still finds time to fly fish with her husband, Frank Cooper, a current state chairman of Montana State Council of Trout Unlimited. She is on the board of the Pat Barnes-Missouri River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, serves on the advisory board of the state council, and was appointed to the Montana State Fisheries Improvement Program Review Panel.