Artist of the Month
Helen ShulmanQueechee, Vermont
TAL: How and when did you start creating art?
I have made art all my life, but became a professional artist late. As a kid, I was strongly encouraged to do something that would allow me to support myself, which did not include being an artist. After retiring from a long career in mental health, it slowly dawned on me that my art was, in fact, basic to who I am and I began taking it very seriously.
TAL: What media and genres do you work in?
I am an oil painter. My images are abstractions with landscape associations.
TAL: Who or what are your influences?
I have responded to the Hudson River School not only for the scenes they painted, but for the way in which they were reacting to the enormous political and cultural changes of their times. The parallels to today’s stresses are clear. I also love Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Series. They never fail to take my breath away.
TAL: What was your inspiration for "
Once in a Blue Moon"?
I have been working on a series I call “at dusk”. There is something about this time of day that speaks to me. I love sitting and watching the growing shadows and softening shapes as the sky gradually darkens after sunset. It’s a time when the hard work of the day eases, when contemplation is invited. Sometimes, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, there is a sense of peace, gentleness and harmony that comes “once in a blue moon.”
TAL: Describe your creative process.
My creative process? Well, it involves a lot of pacing about, eating chocolate, drinking tea, going for long walks, putting paint down, wiping it off, putting more down, berating myself for not being clearer on where I’m headed, forcing myself to stick with limited colors, completely reversing the decisions I’ve already made, putting down more paint, cold wax, adding collage elements and taking them off, turning the picture upside down and doing the whole thing over again until the moment finally arrives where I begin to see some coherence. Then, if I’m lucky I can begin to focus on that and if I’m really lucky I’ll be able to walk away before I destroy what’s working, let it rest overnight and come back the next day with fresh eyes. The painting is finished when I see a way to enter it, to move around within it and when I feel it’s inviting not only to look at but to the viewer’s imagination as well as my own.
TAL: What are you working on currently?
I’m focusing on what the use of cold wax brings to my paintings. I’m finding it intriguing.
TAL: What are your near/long term goals as an artist?
I want to keep getting better and better. I hope to loosen up a bit more, not shy away from strong contrasts and not rely too much on landscape.
TAL: Where can people view/purchase your work?
My galleries are West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park, Stowe, VT
Edgewater Gallery, Middlebury, VT
Kobalt Gallery, Provincetown, MA
Pryor Fine Art, Atlanta GA
Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota FL
And, I’m on Instagram as helenshulman
Once in a Blue Moon
Flight of Fancy
All Images © Helen Shulman
All Rights Reserved
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