Shirley was born in South Wales. After gaining Fellowship of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators, she worked at the Calligraphy Centre with Donald Jackson, also teaching in the Adult Education sector. In 2004 she took a class in botanical painting with Anne Marie Evans and in 2005 joined the diploma course at the English Gardening School, graduating in 2007. Her paintings have been exhibited at Lincoln Cathedral, the RHS and the Royal Botanical Gardens of Wales. She is a Fellow of the HCP Florilegium Society and currently works from her studio in the Beautiful Usk Valley.