Pacific Art League

A passion for art and community since 1921


May Shei

May Shei

May Shei | Taiwan Cloud Leopard

May Shei | Taiwan Cloud Leopard

May Shei (Chinese name 陳菊美) was born in Taiwan. She majored in fine arts during her college years when she also worked as an illustrator for an advertising agency, a magazine, and a newspaper publishing company.

As one of the most active artists both locally and internationally, May has been a member of a diverse array of clubs in the Bay area. She studies the arts diligently to develop her personal style. Over the years, she has garnered numerous awards in the field, including recognitions from AVArt Fest, Palo Alto Art league, Los Gatos Art Association, Art League of Cupertino, among many others.

She currently works in mediums of oil, watercolor, mixed media, Chinese brush painting, as well as writing calligraphy. Many of her works are inlaid in gold or splash ink, typical characteristics of Asian art.

How long have you been painting? Could you talk about your first inspiration as an artist?

I have been painting all my life, starting from before I went to preschool! Growing up in the beautiful countryside, natural objects were everywhere. I didn't have to look far for inspiration. My whole family is artistically inclined. My parents taught me how to sketch and use color, my sister bought me my first art book, and my grandma read me poems.

How would you describe your paintings beyond the material and the structure that you use? Does it reflect your own personality?

I now concentrate on traditional and contemporary Chinese painting, and combine this with the technique of mixed media. Chinese painting for me is like a peaceful meditation for the inner spirit.

What is your favorite subject matter for your paintings and why?

I enjoy painting flowers, insects, birds, animals, figures and landscape, because of they remind me of my love of the Earth.

Any advice you’d like to give to someone who is on the fence of taking their first art class?

I often encourage new artists, to create a foundation on sketching, balancing color, and knowing the materials. Also, I would advise them to listen to teacher's words and just follow your heart. If you like the realistic, paint what you see, and spend time on the details. If you like the abstract, then paint what you feel.

Want to find out more about May? Visit her artist Web site at


May is teaching Asian and Western Watercolor in February and March. Learn to seamlessly blend Asian and Western techniques to create beautiful and unique works of art in watercolor and mixed media. Through demonstration, individual instruction and critique, students will learn how to represent flowers. birds, figures and landscapes and create interesting, dynamic compositions.


Also check out her ART & WINE Chinese Brush Painting on Friday, March 24!