A member of the Philadelphia Public Relations Hall of Fame, Shelley served as President of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association and spent a large part of her professional life as a successful and highly-respected PR practitioner in the Philadelphia region. She represented an impressive number of corporations and non-profits and gained a reputation as a savvy businesswoman, a generous and helpful colleague and an accomplished wordsmith. It's no secret that the PR practice can be rough and hugely competitive. But Shelley managed to succeed without the sort of pugnacity that characterizes so many others in the business. She competed with the best of them (and often bested them) with an a smile and a warmth that made her widely admired not just by her colleague but by all who knew her.
Shelley Picker was always interested in art. Indeed, she drew and painted all her life.
After receiving her training in oils and acrylics at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, she expanded her work to include fabric wall hangings. During this time, she was a studio artist, taught art and showed her work extensively throughout the country in galleries and museums.
She served as the President of Artist Equity and was an advocate for the rights of artists regarding safety issues and gallery relationships. She also served on the Board of Collab, (the design section of the Philadelphia Art Museum) and worked as a consultant for the Museum. And she served on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Watercolor Society, and was a Signature Member of the Philadelphia Watercolor Society and the Baltimore Watercolor Society.
In the 1990's, Shelley began to focus her energies on watercolors. Her floral and garden paintings proved to be remarkably captivating. And, her career as an artist flourished.
She exhibited her work extensively in galleries and museums, (both juried and group shows) and her work was acquired by corporate and private collections.
Here's what Shelley had to say about this:
I touch the paper with color and sometimes magic happens.Shelley never acknowledged it, but the "magic" that she said merely "happens" didn't just happen.
Water and paint – mixing, floating, moving, blending, sparkling, creating shapes and images. Each color is special; each reacting in its own way, some transparent or staining, others opaque or granulated, that's what makes the watercolor medium come alive for me.
Sometimes I work very close to a painting for many hours only to raise my head and feel like only minutes have passed. I back away and am surprised to see a new and different painting.
Whenever I work outside, direct from nature, I revel in it. The sky is always a wonder to me. The sparkling sun filters through the trees, always creating wonderful rich darks – deep and mysterious. The light shines through the petals of my favorite flowers creating lights and mid-tones, shifting the shapes and changing the petal structure. The environment speaks to me and always makes me smile.
Watercolor has turned out to be a perfect match - a love match.
It came from her.
And she shared it with her wonderful family, her colleagues and all us who were fortunate enough to know her. While she saw the light shining through in nature, we saw the light shining through in her. And we were inspired and strengthened by it.
She will be greatly missed. But we are greatly comforted by the example of her life and her rich artistic legacy.
Our deepest sympathies are extended to her husband Ben, her children and her entire family.
Funeral services are set for tomorrow, Friday, at 1 p.m. at Levine’s at 7112 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia.