Shyama Helin: Acrylic Painter

Shyama is an acrylic painter who lives and works in Portland, OR. Her art blends figurative and abstract elements, reflecting our spiritual and emotional connection to the environment. Surface textures and cracking techniques help illustrate nature’s fragility, and give each piece a unique, organic and contemporary style. Raised in one of the oldest hippie communes on the West Coast, it isn’t surprising that she has embraced nature as a subject. Her childhood home was a cabin in the woods—they didn’t rely on electricity or phones—and she often found myself sketching under the comforting canopy of the forest, alone with her imagination. Shyama's connection to nature is profound and unbreakable.

Painting: It was in trying to antique her work where she discovered the cracking method that sets her apart today. She sketches her figures on paper, cuts them out and adheres them to the textured background before she begins painting.  Using layers helps her to create depth and atmosphere. her work has become more abstract over the years and while her own story is woven into each piece, she leaves room for each viewer’s interpretation.

Scratchboard:  The process of scratching off dark ink to reveal a white background provides Shyama with a respite between painting. The simplicity of the black and white acts as a pallet cleanser and the small format is a “quick win” in contrast to her larger and more time-consuming paintings. Each piece is created with a small set of sharp needle tools, steel wool, and blades. She begins scratching away the brightest and lightest areas first and works backwards in tone values - touching the darkest points last.

"Blue Mountains" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 36"x 36"| $1,800
"Light Burst" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 30"x 30"| $1,500 - SOLD
"Wildwood Trail" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 36"x 36"| $1,500
"Flock" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 24"x 24"| SOLD

"Snow Path" | Scratchboard on panel | 18"x 24" | $1,200

"Snow Path" | Scratchboard on panel | 18"x 24" | $1,200

"#7" | Scratchboard | 6"x 6"| $80 - SOLD
"#40" | Scratchboard | 6"x 6"| $80 - SOLD
"#96" | Scratchboard | 8"x 8"| Framed $225
"#93" | Scratchboard | 8"x 8"| Framed $225

"The Journey" | Scratchboard on panel | 18" x 24" | $1,200

"The Journey" | Scratchboard on panel | 18" x 24" | $1,200

"Shadows" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 30"x40" | $2,000

"October" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 60"x48" | $3,500

"Passage" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 30"x 30"| $750 - SOLD
"Morning" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 24"x 24"| $1,000 - SOLD

"Mist" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 22"x28" | $1,000

"Dusk" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 48"x60" | $3,500

"Bloom" | Acrylic paint on canvas | 30"x48" | $2,000

Call 503.310.8139 for purchasing details or visit