Acrylic painter Teshia brings big and colorful art to Park City Fine Art
World-renowned visual artist Teshia loves things wild, big and colorful.
Her subjects are animals of the West that are created on six- to seven-foot canvases with layers of acrylic paint.
Park City will get the opportunity to see her new pieces when she comes to the Park City Fine Art Gallery on Saturday for an opening reception from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
"You can’t miss them," Teshia said with a laugh during telephone interview from her studio in Montana with The Park Record. "In addition to single canvas works, I will bring in several diptychs as well.
"I’ve been working on these for the past month and I love doing them because they’re a little more contemporary and bring something to the table," she said. "I think they are a little more interesting to look at."
Teshia’s path to wildlife acrylics started when her family lived in Seattle.
"My dad is a very talented artist and I grew up seeing him do all of these beautiful pen-and-ink wildlife drawings," she said. "My parents set up an art table and had all of these arts and crafts for me. So, I started drawing and loved it, because I wanted to be just like my dad."
The young artist sold her first work when she was 10, but it wasn’t a piece that depicted wildlife.
"It was a pastel of a colorful wizard," Teshia said. "A lady offered to buy it for $200. It was like winning the lottery and got me excited for a potential art career."
The artist began seriously working on wildlife paintings after her family moved to Montana.
"We moved here to a small town out in the mountains when I was 12," Teshia said. "We had moose out in our field. I saw a wolverine once and a grizzly bear lived on our property. I mean, there was wildlife everywhere."
Teshia’s mom also added to her wildlife passion.
"She decorated our home with bear and moose décor and I loved the outdoors," she said. "I felt like I wanted to bring out the energy and soul of these animals.
"If you look at my work, you will notice there is an abstract element, but the eyes are always very detailed," Teshia said. "My goal was and still is to bring out the individual personality of the animals. I feel each animal has it’s own characteristic and they have much more depth than we realize."
That’s one reason why Teshia began working with acrylics.
"I found a love for color, paint, especially acrylic paint, because I love the rich pigment," she said. "I can work quickly with those paints. I paint really fast and combine a lot of layers.
"On a different level, I feel the color brings out the positive nature of our own selves," Teshia said. "When we have color around us, it makes us happier and more uplifted, because different colors bring out different emotions in people. So, I like to play with that and combine different elements."
The biggest challenge for Teshia in the creative process is settling on a vision.
"I usually do my best work when I know what I want to paint," she said. "I’ll just see something and feel that I have to paint it and it usually comes together."
Other times it’s a struggle.
"When I paint something because I’m supposed to or because someone told me to, I have to figure it out as I’m doing it," she said. "That’s when things become a struggle."
However, Teshia has found if she sticks with something, the result usually comes together.
"It’s funny because there will be times when I’m in the middle of a painting and I will get so frustrated and start to think that no one will like it," she said. "But then I’ll continue to add more layers and start to feel a sense of fearlessness and turn it out."
Working with large canvases has helped Teshia develop her problem-solving skills.
"I usually utilize the whole canvas and use big brushes and big brush strokes and then move down to smaller brushes as I go to work out the smaller details," she said. "I start off with a sketch to get the general composition together and then I do the backgrounds first and then start the animals’ body parts.
"If you see the progress photos of my work on my Facebook page or on Instagram, the images look like zombies at first until the end when I put the eyes in," she said. "It’s like Christmas morning. I like to save the best for last. So, when I come to the end and am excited to complete a work."
The eyes usually take Teshia one or two hours to finish.
"I will not finish a painting if the eyes or noses aren’t right, because if they’re wrong, the whole painting is ruined," she said. "First, I have to work on it until it looks alive and real. And then the eyes have to have some emotion in them, but it’s important to bring out the right emotions."
Throughout her career, Teshia has used her talent to help raise funds for an array of nonprofit organizations, including Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics.
"Everybody needs help at some point of their lives and I think we all like to give back in one way or another," she said. "When I donate a painting, it’s great to feel like I’m helping and I also get to meet people who are behind these amazing organizations."
Working with these nonprofits, however, is only part of the reward of creating art for a living, Teshia said.
"I love everything about my job," she said. "That said, it is my job and that means it’s not always enjoyable. Especially when I have to go down and paint when I’m not in the mood, but I usually find myself in a trance or I go to a different place when I start to paint, and it’s always fun to see what I’ve done when I finish and snap out of what I’m doing."
The Park City Fine Art Gallery, 577 Main St., will welcome visual artist Teshia on Saturday, Dec. 26, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Teshia, who lives in Montana, creates colorful acrylic works of animals and Western landscapes. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfineart.com . For more information about Teshia, visit http://www.Teshiaart.com.
Utah’s Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal will perform her book-length work ‘West: A Translation’ Thursday at the Kimball Art Center