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Hancock husband and wife are true artists

  • Numael and Shirley Pulido in their Hancock studio at their home, where they teach weekly classes, week-long intensive workshops and paint. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Numael and Shirley Pulido in their Hancock studio at their home, where they teach weekly classes, week-long intensive workshops and paint. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • A portrait by Numael Pulido. Courtesy photo 

  • A portrait by Numael Pulido. Courtesy photo 

  • A portrait by Numael Pulido. Courtesy photo 

  • Interior paintings by Shirley Pulido. Courtesy photo 

  • Interior paintings by Shirley Pulido. Courtesy photo 

  • Interior paintings by Shirley Pulido. Courtesy photo 

  • Shirley and Numael Pulido teach classes each Thursday in the studio space at their Hancock home. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/26/2019 11:09:45 AM

Numael and Shirley Pulido weren’t looking for a show. They never are.

But the husband and wife painters were approached about putting together a collection of their oil paintings to be displayed at Fry Fine Art in Peterborough this summer. Even though they have been painting together for almost 50 years in their Hancock home -- and many years before that in New York City -- the couple had never shown their art together.

They were never ones for the gallery scene, choosing instead to sell their work privately much like they’ve spent their entire careers as artists. But the opportunity to have an exhibit made up solely of their work was all the draw they needed.

“That’s one of the reasons we wanted to do the show, the chance to show together,” Shirley said.

The show is on display through Sept. 29 in the downtown Peterborough gallery and includes a selection of Numael’s portraits, and still lifes, as well as a project of interior scenes that Shirley spent the last two-plus years creating.

It’s both exciting and nerve racking to have their work on display for all to see – since they are so private and most of it has only been hanging on the walls of their home and those of their clients.

“We really paint in complete obscurity,” Shirley said.

While it’s not easy to live the life of an artist and make a living, the Pulidos have found a way to do it. They both have painted their entire lives and it’s the only job they’ve known – outside of teaching art.

It was about 30 years ago when they were approached about instructing.

“At first we said no, and then we thought about it,” Numael said.

With so much to offer, they decided to give it a shot.

“One person led to another one and soon we had a class,” Numael said.

In their separate studio space at their Hancock home, the Pulidos offer weekly classes on Thursdays in both the morning and afternoon. It is open to artists of all levels, including professionals who are looking for a more classical approach.

“We have dedicated students who have been with us for a long time,” Numael said. “We’ll teach anyone as long as they really want to do it and want to put the time in.”

The classes run from January to December, but students are allowed to join at any time. There is a six-week commitment required for new students.

And twice a year, they host a five-day intensive workshop. The workshops are limited to 11 students, who comes from all over the country, and the small class allows Shirley and Numael to provide the hands on personal instruction they feel is necessary for the students to improve their skills. The next workshop is Oct. 7-11 and focuses on portrait painting in Classical Realism.

Over the years, the Pulidos have seen all level of artists walk into their studio. And they have watched many grow into professional painters like themselves. Karin Wells of Peterborough is one of those artists that studied under Numael to refine her techniques and approach.

While the Pulidos have spent most of their life portrait painting, they work with students on any type of painting they’d like to create. They focus on principals, laws of light and color and methods of process.

The teaching aspect is only a small part of their weekly schedule. The rest of the time, the Pulidos can be found in their upstairs studio painting. Their easels are right next to each other, but there isn’t a lot of conversation going on. When they’re in the studio, the’re there to work.

“Time is so precious for a painter,” Shirley said. “It’s hard for people to understand, but it’s so absorbing. You’re sort of in another world.”

But that doesn’t mean they don’t ask for suggestions or feedback during the creation process.

“That’s the real benefit because you can lose your objectivity when you’re by yourself,” Numael said.

When they take on a commission painting, Shirley said they give themselves a year to complete the work. But it almost never takes that much time. 

“Sometimes the work is very fast. I’ve done portraits in a month. And sometimes it doesn’t and it takes six months,” Numael said.

But it’s not all just commission work. Numael said he has asked complete strangers walking down the road or in a coffee shop if he can paint them.

While Numael has always been primarily a portrait painter, Shirley has branched out over the last few years. She began seeing all sorts of painting opportunities around their home. That is what is hanging on the walls at Fry Fine Art and now she’s in search of more homes to draw inspiration from.

The two met when both were studying art in New York City. Shirley was renting a loft on the lower east side and Numael, through a friend, was invited to stay.

At first they were good friends because “we could talk art,” Shirley said. That friendship blossomed into a relationship and marriage. 

“In retrospect, you see something was behind it; that we had to meet,” Shirley said.

Shirley noticed something very quickly about Numael, as the two shared a passion for the work of the classical masters.

“I realized he had the information from the past that was so important,” she said. “When we painted, we wanted to paint like the masters.”

Numael came to America from Columbia when he was 15. He had a friend who lived in the states and always wanted to study art here.

That sense of adventure also led them to Hancock, as they had never heard of the Monadnock Region, but a friend who had come to the area raved about the area and its art world. They rented a car and traveled around Peterborough and were quickly sold.

“We could sense something artistic in the area,” Numael said. “And it did look beautiful.”

They moved to Hancock in 1970 and have been there ever since.

For more information about their classes or examples of the Pulidos’s work, visit pulidostudio.blogspot.com.


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