Interview with an Artist
Today we have the pleasure of getting to know Terra Sheridan “Tumbledown” . *********************************************************************Patti – Hi, Terra, thanks so much for doing this interview with me.
Terra - Hi Patti! You are welcome. I've been asked before, but you are my first. ;)
Patti -First of all, share with me a little bit about what it’s like living Colorado. Were you born there?
Terra – Well, like Colorado a lot. I do miss all my family though. But Colorado is full of color, rolling hills, four seasons, old historical buildings and a story around every corner. It's quite different from where I grew up. I'm from Phoenix, Arizona. I moved to Colorado in late 2004, with a few things I owned, a small baby, Border collie and a husband that just came back from Iraq
Patti – What are your seasons like in there? Does it get really snow in June like I have heard?
Terra - The seasons are amazing! I'm in awe all the time. I really do think some people see color differently or more intensely. My husband and I had this conversation the last time we all went up to Cripple Creek to look at all the Aspens turning colors. I even like when it snows. At first I was nervous about it. But now I like it and it melts pretty fast. I haven't seen a good winter in about 6 years to where you get snowed in. Everyone thinks Colorado is cold and full of snow. But it's not. Snow in June? No, maybe on top of Pikes Peak. Or that fluke storm in April...But I haven't really seen anything in June. The weird thing when I moved here was seeing snow on Jack-o-lanterns. The first snow is always around Halloween.
Patti - Tell me about your family. Are you a married women and if so how long have you been married? Do you have children, grandchildren, or pets?
Terra – Hmmm, family. I have an interesting one, lol. Yep, married. Wow, we Just had our 13th anniversary in October. Boy, time flies! I do have one daughter. She turned 9 not to long ago and is up to my chin now, and (I'm 5'9 or 5'10), and loves art like I do but she's a lot smarter than me and tells me so often, lol. I wish it would all slow down. My Border collie died in 2006 but I was given another dog in 2009. She's a Wolfdog. Her mom was a Grey Wolf. And her dad was a Black Lab. Smart and full of love. She was meant for us.
Patti – Share with me how you first became interested in art?
Terra - This is a hard question. First interested in art? I think when I first picked up a crayon. My first memory was maybe around 2 yrs old. My parents divorced when I was 2. They remarried and I was always over my grandmother's houses. I felt left to run a muck. So my dad's mom had a farm with animals. And when she was tired of me getting into everything and wanted me to sit still she would sit me at her kitchen table and slide a tin cookie jar full of crayons and blank paper towards me. She saved everything I did in a old floral family album. And she gave it to me as an adult. Coloring was my friend when I was lonely or couldn't go outside and read to the Quarter Horses and my mule (Melton Burro). Or ride them bare back everywhere. She said I would sit there for hours. I liked to tell stories with my images. My drawings were mostly of the animals then. My mom's mother had a farm in Watsonville, Ca. That was fun. It was all lettuce fields, apples and strawberries. I went during the summers there. And her husband would let me steer the tractors as her drank his Moonshine he made lol. They had an old barn that was converted into a house. I used to lie on my belly as a kid and draw for hours in their living room. On my Mom's side full of closet artists. My Grandma Taylor was one too. It's funny all my memories are all surrounded by art.
Patti – Have you always done painted art or have you done any digital art?
Terra - No. I have dabbled in many different mediums. I love everything. I even taught pottery for a while. Funny though I'm self taught. I just had great teachers. I learned by being thrown in. I like creative kaos, lol. I can do anything. That sounds terrible, but I really can. I don't know how I know what to do while creating. I just learned what a color wheel was lol. But it just comes out. Like someone else takes over. I don't think about it really. I just let whatever happens, happen. No, no digital art. I'm too poor, and I like the complexities of mixing my own formulas, colors, textures and etc. I like the old school stuff. I like a challenge. And I want to feel it under my hands. But I've done so much, lol. That's another whole story.
Patti -How did you learn to paint faces? Did you teach yourself or did you take art courses or lessons?
Terra - I taught myself. My mom said when I was little and she had to take me to work sometimes (she worked at a hospital). That I went up to old people all the time. I would sit in their laps( when my mom was busy) and hold their face in my hands and just look at them. She said they would just laugh. She said I was always an old soul. I have always been really sensitive around people. And I loved old people. I felt they were always full of stories. Stories of their lives. And they felt beautiful to me. I've always been fascinated by people. And I also think it has to do with the relationships I've had in my life. In high school my art teacher took me out of my Spanish class. And told me and I'll never forget this "art is considered a language for you". "I am placing you into another art class." It was called Individual Art Development. My brother told me he was still showing my stuff 4 years after I left. And I took one class after high school. It was with an older woman I worked with. She invited me. At this stage I haven't created for a few years. And it was a painting class with a bunch of senior citizens. I didn't paint by steps just repeated what I saw. And she then told me I was too advanced for her class lol. I just wanted to go for the company. I didn't have a car then and walked to this library/ adult center once a week at night., maybe 30 blocks. I realize now how bad I wanted to be around other creative people.
Terra - Yes. I'm always experimenting, playing...discovering new things. Haaa! That Angel of Light piece was the first time I wanted to do something with the background that was different. I would buy wood from Home Depot for $6.00 a piece. And hang a wire and hooks on the back. I wrote stories on the back and hung charms on the wire. I couldn't afford canvas. And I had tons of old books that I've read laying around. So I found myself getting scissors and cutting them up. This was the first time I did a background in all paper. If you saw this one close up you could see the words. I didn't know what mixed media was. I was just doing it. And when I found Ning and saw all the artist groups, I got so excited and was so inspired by other artists, that they were creating this mixed media too. It was fun sharing with them what I was doing and we would all experiment, and talk to each other.
Terra – Oh, Soul of a Rose? Yes. That is my favorite ever! I've painted that one a million times. I think I can get it pretty darn close now. That time was on a small gift box. When I first started creating again, I used Waterhouse often to retrain my brain on what I wanted it to be. I just drew his stuff over and over again. Trying to teach myself.
Patti- This is my all time favorite. ”Crow Lady” You have such versatility in your creations. Do you ever use a model or are these faces your creations? What inspires you to paint?
Terra - Over the past few years I've been interested more in the paints, formulas, products and mixes more than the subjects. That’s why all the ladies. They usually are quick 2 hours creative experiments, to see what happens. Faces and people are the easiest for me to draw, and my men look like women so I just drew women. Lazy, I guess. But I like to tell stories, silent stories. You can see it in their faces or by the brush strokes or colors I use. I don't like to tell you what to see. That's for you. Everything inspires me.
Patti – Have you ever had any of your work published? If so tell me about it.
Terra - No never really published. And that's ok. It's not important to me.
Patti – Do you have a blog you can share with us? Also, do you have a website on Etsy Shop or any other network?
Terra - Honestly...I don't have a favorite Artist. My tastes change so much. I see art that interests me online all the time but no artist that I am really in awe of. I do like some old school stuff. Parrish, Mucha, Waterhouse. I do like the galleries that are in Manitou. There is one I really am interested in. It had space to rent in the back for artists. Each room is different. One with pottery kilns...and Raku supplies, oil painting and so on. I do like to go there and talk with the artists that are renting spaces and just see what they are doing. And if they'll let me and don't mind watch and learn. I like to visit artists in their own galleries. I like to ask them questions. See what lights them up about their artwork. Hear their stories. My latest interest has been sewing. I'm learning custom tailoring the hard way by being the grunt. Watching and asking. Doing custom clothing orders by myself (which can be scary) but it's just another wonderful adventure in art for me. Besides God, and my family it's what I love the most.
You can find my links to where I sell on my blog, www.terrasheridan.blogspot.com. Lately though, I haven't had much listed. I've been selling a lot locally. Having a bit of a struggle keeping up with requests. Which I guess is a good thing?
Patti – What do you like to do for recreation or to relax?
Terra - Umm...I like to go to Manitou Springs with my family and walk, anything outdoors. Local craft fairs are fun sometimes. We like to drive with nowhere in mind. And see where we end up. I haven't seen much of Colorado. But there's so much to do here. I also like to go to Woodland Park and let my Wolfdog run. I don't know. I work a lot. Painting is my fun time too.
Patti – Many artists are inspired by music. Do you like music playing when you paint? What is your favorite music?
Terra – Music? Yeah, I love music. When I was younger I played the Cello. Stopped when I had to walk to school and trying to carry it. I wanted the violin but I was the tallest kid that got stuck with the Cello, because there were no more violins. My mom used to quiz me on songs all the time. My grandmother in California played Delta Blues and old cool stuff all the time. I was always surrounded by music as a kid. My grandfather played a mean Gibson. I have a cousin that can hear music and then play it. He is totally self taught. For me it has always set the mood for my paintings. When I'm having a bit of a block, I turn on music. or surf music till I find the mood I was looking for, then I start to paint. I guess it helps open up that creative part of me I'm looking for. Music starts the story for me, if that makes any since?
Patti – Here is a fun question…Would you rather bake a cake or cookies and what is your favorite flavor? Do you like to cook?
Terra - I love to cook when it's not expected of me everyday. I'm not really a super domestic person. And I don't like the whole traditional roles. I rebel a lot. And go on cooking strikes with my husband. But on the good side, it can be another creative outlet for me. When it isn't forced.
Cookies or cake? Hmmm. Cookies if there’s alot going on with them. Cake is fun too. Hmmm, hard question. I'm going to say cookies, I like that instant gratification. And it's something my daughter can do with me. And then we can spend more time painting and making a creative mess, and making my husband more crazy. I think I am more of a salty/spicy person than sweet. Maybe, if it was a Mexican dish, lol.
Patti - What is your strongest pet peeve?
Terra -Strongest pet peeve? Ewwww, I have to many. When it comes to my art? Maybe that I didn't have enough faith in myself to do things artistically throughout the years. and that my loved ones always discouraged me from it. I regret that and it always bothers me when I see someone telling another that they "CAN'T". I started painting again in 2007 really. I donated a large piece of work I did to a silent auction to a girl who died of brain cancer. Her parents didn’t have enough money to bury her after all the treatment. It was my daughter’s daycare director who asked. She just asked for anything I could donate to a silent auction. I wasn’t told until after what it was for. My artwork went for $5000.00. That was kind of a wake up call for me. I then started painting and listing the little experiments online. I've sold over 500 pieces since then, every single piece, which I just find crazy but fun.
Patti – Thank you so much Terra , it has been fun getting to know you. I admire your work and I am sure the Creative Souls family will be thrilled to know you better too.
Happy Creating !
Terra’s Blog: http://terrasheridan.blogspot.com