About the artist

Al Heilman 
I am inspired by the serenity of nature, and I seek to express a healing presence and tranquility in my art. I work in many different media to convey my voice. My work communicates a feeling of peace, harmony and a profound respect for nature and humanity.

One of my first  creative steps was when I built a Soap Box Derby car.  On my 3rd attempt I won the local Soap Box Derby in DeKalb, Illinois. That qualified me for the national race in Akron, Ohio. That was exciting, even though I lost. But, I learned that you have to pay careful attention to detail.  On my first attempt, I  had the steering cable wrapped backwards on the steering column and ended up hitting a hay bail at the end of the course!   

I loved photography at an early age. As a teenager I built a darkroom. Photography is still is a passion of mine: I photograph daily in my creative process. I went to a university run lab school for Junior High.   I used a binary computer  with punch tapes as an entry tool…55 years ago. We had a wood and metal shop at the school.  In High School I gravitated to the drafting classes and wood and metal shop: Learning to visualize and think in 3 dimensions is a gift from those classes.  I have designed and built many homes, including my current lake home/studio. I seriously considered studying architecture in college, but medicine won me over. 

I always believed that healing was my natural calling. When I was younger, I went to pharmacy school, then, to medical school. This led to my becoming an orthopedic spine surgeon: Over twenty-five-years, I helped many people, with broken and injured spines, stand up straight and regain function. But, being 6’8”, the years of my bending over an operating room table caught up with my genetic inheritance.  Knowing a life’s journey never follows a  straight line, my body challenged me to develop a new paradigm once I left the operating room.

I responded by  giving myself permission to  pursue my art full time professionally.  I spent several years taking classes at the Glassell school of Art at night while still working.. Next I  pursued a fellowship in Integrative Medicine.   This allowed me the knowledge to use food and health as my medicine and to pave the way forward after my major spine surgery. I now have a new mechanism for healing.  Not only have I healed my own body and soul, but hopefully, my art inspires the healing power in others. On this path I have never looked back.

I use the sunrises and sunsets as my palette and the changes in nature as my inspiration. This provides me an evocative and healing ethos. I count myself lucky to live my passion.  My work communicates a feeling of peace, harmony and a profound respect for nature and humanity.  

I also explore the social issues we face as humans and as a society. My work brings attention to the recognition and acceptance of the many wounds that have been present in our society for far too long. We all need to work together so that we have equal access to the law, education and healthcare no matter what our race or color. Examples of this work are three pieces: Black Lives Matter, Genes, and SOS: Our Guns or Our Children.

Black Lives Matter

Fused Glass with acrylic on canvas covered wooden panel. 30x30 x3


Fused Glass mounted on a Canvas covered wooden panel, Acrylic. 30x30x3

SOS: Our Guns or Our Children

30 x 30 x 3 Fused glass on canvas covered panel with acrylic and colored pencil.

One of the challenges I face every day is getting to and staying in the creative flow. I am not afraid of failure, experimenting and taking risks. Much of my work goes through an ugly or challenging phase, before the final finishes and additions.  I have learned to push through, not stopping until I feel whole.  Art, on my best days, is nirvana, peace and ecstasy. On bad days, it provides a meditative internal mind therapy. I have learned to use problems and roadblocks as a stimulus for  creativity.  

My work is sold online thru this website.  During the Covid 19 pandemic I have closed my in-person galley due to health exposure risks. If you are interested in a work or a commission let me know, and we can facilitate the process. I appreciate your time spent visiting this website.  Stay safe and wear a mask when around others.