An Interview with Featured Artist, Terrell Minton
THE EARLY YEARS
“Judith” Oil on Canvas 9″ x 12″
Terrell Minton grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and has had a love for art since she was a child. Drawing came easy to her and brought her joy. Her mother supported her interest in art and enrolled her thirteen-year-old daughter in a life drawing class at San Antonio’s McNay Art Institute. This was Terrell’s first formal training. She was the only non-adult in the class!
But her pursuit of art took a detour after high school. Although Terrell enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin to study art, this was a disappointing experience for her. Classes were crowded and the art instructors seemed to be bored and not interested. Their only focus was on the few students already proficient in art.
“Hidden Pond” Oil on Canvas 10″ X 10″
Discouraged by this lack of supportive instruction, Terrell decided to switch her major to Social Work. After graduating, she worked with Vietnamese refugees and their children in Austin. Still linked to her childhood love, she would use art with some of her young clients there.
“Flathead River, Glacier National Park” Oil on Canvas 30″ X 30″
After her mother’s early death and the hard but crucial lesson that life is too short to not do what you truly love, Terrell returned to her passion – Art. UT San Antonio proved to have a more engaging art department. There she studied painting and drawing, earning her BFA.
FOLLOWING HER OWN PATH
“Bear Creek” Oil on Canvas 36″ X 30″
Terrell has since studied with various teachers: Denver artist Quang Ho, Michele Cassou, and Stewart Cubley of The Painting Experience in San Francisco and other wonderful teachers at Anderson Ranch Art Center and other venues. She has learned that “wherever you are as an artist is totally and completely fine. Start there and keep moving forward.” That is not always the message to students in college-level art classes.
“Prickly Pear” Oil on Canvas 30″ x 30″
For those wanting to study art Terrell suggests, “Find good teachers, but know that any answer to anything having to do with personal expression is going to require serious self-directed exploration. Don’t waste time on teachers that are authoritative or unkind.”
“Colorado Whitewater” Oil on Canvas 12″ X 12″
Terrell impresses me as someone who has art, enhanced by the vibrancy of nature, pulsing through her being. She put in the time to explore and learn, seeking out teachers and finding the right channels to pursue her passion. She also studied with the Creativity Coaching Association to help others free up their expression.
She tells us, “Art requires all of you – Body, Mind, Spirit. Listen. Be awake. Be present in the moment, and trust your intuition and your subconscious.”
“The Mesa” Oil on Canvas 30″ x 30″
Terrell has now been painting full-time for 35 years. When she had a studio in Boulder she facilitated groups based on Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. Utilizing themes from Cameron’s book, Terrell developed an expressive painting program using large pieces of butcher paper and lots of inexpensive tempera paint to free up expression.
“At First Sight” Oil on Canvas 48″ X 48″
Inspired by nature, water, and sensual experiences of a place or situation, Terrell desires to bring that energy into her painting. As she states on her website:
“My paintings reflect not only my love of nature but also my interest in finding and simplifying elements in the natural environment. I want my paintings to be about energy and color and my intent is to allow for a certain amount of mystery that the viewer can fill in for him or herself.
“Fall Color” Oil on Canvas 30″ x 30″
“What excites me is the richness of the colors and the textures of the oils. My goal is to always have the process of painting be essential and alive. Moments of emotional richness inspire me, where changes in the environment overlay an internal harmony of the senses.”
“The Crossing” Oil on Canvas 60″ x 60″
Terrell paints from her imagination, from direct experience, and from sensory memories of familiar places and events in her life. “Being surrounded by and close to nature has deeply affected me and continues to affect me as an artist, whether it’s living in Salida, exploring rivers in Texas with friends, or visiting beautiful natural places while traveling.”
At a scene, she takes notes about the day: sounds, light, colors – filling out the complete sensual experience. For a painting, Terrell sometimes starts with a photo, with her notes, and her recollection of the fullness of the experience helping her to remember. And then, she lets the process unfold and change as she paints.
INSPIRED BY OTHER ARTISTS
“Water Lillies” Oil on Canvas
36″ x 48″
In San Antonio Terrell worked for a private art collector, and through his collecting, she encountered the work of Forrest Moses, who had made his home in Santa Fe, NM. Moses, an acclaimed American landscape artist, was a bright source of inspiration for Terrell. She has always admired the work of San Francisco artist, Diebenkorn. And to round out the list Terrell names Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, and Hodgkin as painters whose bodies of work have influenced her.
TERRELL’S THOUGHTS FOR THE ASPIRING ARTIST
- Notice everything that interests you in the world and follow those leads. Be curious – always
“Crystal River” Oil on Canvas 30″ X 30″
- Believe in yourself. Commit to yourself.
- Be totally open to the exploration and discovery in your art-making process and how that might take you to unknown and unfamiliar places.
- Show up consistently. Life is always busy; watch out for and make plans to deal with the inevitable distractions.
- Expect to put in lots of time on your pursuit, a lifetime at least.
- Develop the ability to be alone and to be your own best friend and honest critic.
- Be authentic in your art making.
Terrell feels it is “important to value what we do as artists and to recognize the value of art. It is a privilege for anyone to look deep inside and find whatever inspires you – to honor and be true to what inspires us in this world.” And that sums up her own desire as well: to be open and find what is true for her.
“In All Its Glory” Oil on Canvas 48″ X 48″
“When I feel that I have, in some way, captured in paint the sensual, emotional and spiritual elements of how I experienced being in a particular place in nature, I feel very happy to have chosen to be an artist.”
Terrell was a participant in the Salida Art Walk this June, and her paintings are currently on exhibit at Piñon Real Estate Group, 201 F Street, Salida, CO through the end of August. Following this exhibit, Terrell has plans for a new explorative phase in painting and some further traveling. Terrell works in her studio in Longmont, CO.