Artist Eileen Terrell’s dynamic collection of landscape oil paintings contrasts sunlight and shadow. See more of her portfolio by visiting her website.
I grew up with my parents and five sisters in a small crowded row home in a blue-collar neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
To escape that claustrophobic situation, I would seek any open space that I could reach by foot or by bike. I would lay down for hours in a field or sitting against a tree to watch the light play between the sun and shadows.
I often dreamed of making my escape to these open spaces, where the contrasts and colors between sun and shadow could be captured as easily as taking a breath. My mind would constantly paint the scenes before me. I believe this is why I never use a sketchbook, even to this day. The vision of my painting is completed in its entirety before I place a drop of paint on the canvas.
In my younger years in grade school, I won an art contest held by the local newspaper. The prize was tickets to see the Ice Capades. It was during this time that my parents began to notice that “this artist stuff” might become serious.
Money, however, was tight. It was not to be wasted frivolous things such as as art supplies, so I started working at the local bingo hall to make money. I continued working odd jobs and saved enough money for tuition to attend a school of art. Unfortunately, I could only save enough to go to a small advertising trade school.
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While there, my professors viewed my work as unmarketable and not suitable for advertising to the masses due to my unique style. Despite this criticism, I continued on and graduated. I did freelance work for several years, but became very frustrated. I was stifled by the limits imposed on my art.
Disgruntled, I abandoned the world of advertising but not the world of art, and continued to paint my visions in my head. I also began taking biology and mathematic classes at the community college to pursue a career as a nurse. I excelled in this field by bringing my unique perspective to a patient’s situation and care.
Time passed and I returned to my roots. I found my joy once again with oil painting on canvas. To further assist this return, I began to take classes at The Woodmere Museum. The instructor encouraged my unique style and praised my efforts.
With this positive reinforcement, the paintings that had been locked in my head began to flow as if a great barrier had been removed. I started to enter juried exhibitions with positive results, setting free even more creativity. This creativity resulted in even more showings and garnered more attention for my art.
Regardless of these recent accolades, the art of placing brush to canvas is, for me, still about immersing the viewer in my vision of the colors and shapes created by sun and shadow.
Artist Eileen Terrell invites you to follow her on Instagram.
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