In Memory of Shulie: Our Friend at Our Side

February 2, 2018

All of our OMA artists bring their unique personalities and ways of making art to each session. Shulamite, or Shulie as she likes to be called, is one.

“Every time Shulie comes to OMA, she arrives wearing a 100 watt smile that is impossible not to match, and she gives a joyous, funny two-handed wave,” says Kayla, one of our student leaders.

Another leader, Brad, agrees. Shulie can make an entrance. “She has a way of catching your eye with a kind of winking smile that says ‘I’m really glad to see you this morning’ before you’re even in conversational range.”

Shulie is an artist, She has been throughout her life. We recognized the quality of Shulie’s artwork in 2014 when her piece created in OMA, “My Friend At My Side,” was one of 14 selected from among 50 submissions. The panel of seven judges for the show “Oxford Art in Bloom” were blind to artist identity. The selected pieces were then used as inspirations for floral arrangements created by members of a local garden club.

Shulie’s art-making experience is evident when she is at work on a piece. With her legs crossed, she might initially appear nonchalant about the art-making process and outcome, but she is concentrating and focused.

“She approaches each of her art pieces with intention,” Beth Rohrbaugh, OMA Assistant Director observes. “She seems to have a vision for what she is creating.” 

“I love the way [Shulie] invites a comment in passing on whatever she is doing — usually beautiful impromptu compositions in hues that are of her own making from even the simplest watercolor palette,” says Brad. “She does this not so much in words as with her eyes that flash from you to the piece she is working on, and then back with a light hand gesture that asks, ‘So what do you think of this?’”

Shulie prefers to paint with acrylics and her pieces often include human figures, but she is curious and open to experimenting with different mediums and tools. One of our art projects uses a Japanese brush painting technique.  Brad asked Shulie what she thought of working in black ink.

“It’s a different adventure,” she said, looking at her first draft of the painting. “You can see the process there.”

As she adds gold pastel to her piece, Shulie explains, “I’m trying to make things do something with each other.” Revealing her imagination and preference for including people in her work, she then points to the Japanese word stamp. “Do you know what that is? It’s somebody dancing!”

Shulie is funny, engaging and talented. At OMA, our lives are enriched by knowing her. Kayla sums it up. “[Shulie is a] warm, gentle soul with so much love to give.”

All OMA students and staff are grateful for having been a small part of Shulie’s life. Throughout her years in OMA, Shulie taught us by example how to live well and age with grace. We will miss her at Cedar Village.

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Meghan Young

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