Helen Shulman's paintings are built on muslin which has been affixed to panel. "Because of the way the muslin reacts with the acrylic gel, there is a hint of imagery before I even begin painting," Shulman explains. "The first paint layer generally creates a fairly realistic picture, reminiscent of scenes taken from nature. It will be wiped or sanded down and subsequent layers of oil washes which may be enhanced with encaustic, will be added, sanded and wiped until the painting has matured and the 'story' has become clear.
Shulman grew up in Amish country in Ohio. "I was strongly influenced by the quietness of the entire area," she says. Children relied heavily on imagination and jerry rigged toys to create games and to play. 'Because there were few distracting noises, listening to nature and heeding daydreams
was taken as the ordinary way of life.
Before becoming a professional artist, Shulman had a long career as a psychotherapist. She comments on the importance of experiencing an "attentive environment." As a therapist, she strove to create a place where both client and therapist could listen to the inner musings of the client, helping them to better understand themselves thereby discovering more effective ways to solve external problems.
Her interest in the human psyche and the influence the writings of Carl Jung had on her psychotherapy practice is clear. "In my paintings," she says, "I strive to create imagery that will capture the viewer in a moment of stillness, a moment of comfort, where a sense of being understood and understanding something new or long forgotten suddenly presents itself."
Shulman was trained at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. She shows in galleries up and down the east coast. Her work is in numerous private and corporate collections including, Boston Wharf Hotel, Boston; Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Londonderry NH; Northwest Mutual, Boston; and Courtyard by Marriott, Burlington, VT.
"Helen Shulman's 'Vivid Memories of Things that Never Happened,' is a series of seventeen paintings done on board, in which modulated color fields take on three dimensional qualities, enhanced by being painted on their sides as well as frontal surfaces. Weighty, yet oddly floating, the color fields sometimes take on architectural or landscape associations, suggesting the shifting, inscrutable and unrecoverable stages on which dreams slowly unfold. These are mysterious, archetypal evocations of inner space."
Art New England, 2005
More of her work may be found at: http://www.helenshulman.com