Deena Ultman

As a child, I always loved to draw and was encouraged by my dear cousin who is an artist in New York.  But when I graduated from high school, I was torn between my love of art and my love of math.  At the University of Delaware , my decision was to major in math.  In my “first” professional  life (I have had many),  I became a high school math teacher.

Along with my husband, Jim, we moved to State College in 1970, where we raised three daughters, all of whom are very creative women.  My job experiences along the way include a baking business;  being the school director for many years at Congregation Brit Shalom; and ultimately,  becoming the Assistant Director of Administration at the Hillel Foundation at Penn State. When I retired from a 10-year career at Hillel, I summoned up the courage to take an art class. Although my early experiences and comfort zone in art were drawing in a realistic manner, I began to evolve when taking an abstract acrylic course taught by a wonderful artist,  Isabel Kumerz. It was a mind-opening experience and although I find it a great stretch for me, I enjoy the process and the creative women with whom I paint.  

Much of my work is connected by my choice of bright colors and by the concrete images from still life compositions or places I have traveled, drawn into my abstract painting. The materials I use consist mostly of acrylic paints on canvas or paper but I also like using charcoal,  water- soluble crayons and watercolors.  Quite often, I collage onto my painting with objects that are meaningful to me–a souvenir from travels abroad or a flower from one of my plants, etc.  My works are often textured with layers of acrylic and/or  paper.

My process of abstract painting revolves around the techniques I have learned from my teachers over these past nine years.  These techniques are a good way for me to “get started.”  I have fun doing abstract/semi-representational painting.  

The support from family and friends to explore my creative side, along with my inner voice to create, have been my impetus to continue.