Linda Terhark

Watercolor Artist

Color is my inspiration.  Perhaps my love of it comes from memories of childhood, the excitement of a new box of crayons filled with a cadre of brilliant colors, fresh and unused.

Or perhaps I discovered it in the work of the hundreds of children I taught as they responded to my instruction.  Make it BIG, BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL.  I do know that most adults could never duplicate those free, non-proportional, bold works that were so unique we used them to raise money for our school on printed cards and at our annual art show.

Then, of course there was my father, whose painting truck was filled with buckets of paint and dozens of tubes of pure tint, from which he could concoct any color to meet a customer’s needs. The sign on his truck read, “Terhark Painting Company” and the motto “For Better Color Harmony”.  My mother was a piano teacher and I’m sure she had something to do with those words.

She also had a great deal to do with the development of my artistic confidence. At an early age, I was the child expected to decorate for all the holidays because she said I was the one with artistic talent.  I hung paper, objects and my paintings everywhere in the house on those occasions.  My bedroom, its walls, the closet interior, the ceiling was always my personal art gallery, covered with photos, drawings, 3 dimensional creations, a lot of Scotch Tape, and bright, bright paper.  It seemed such a happy place, I thought.

My love of color bloomed even more fully when I visited, in my first trip to Europe, Mattisse’s home in southern France. I felt as if his work was speaking to me.  His colors and simplicity trilled me.  On the same trip, I went to Picasso’s pottery studio.  He was alive then, and his simple lines that told so much have remained in my memory almost 45 years later.  I have never forgotten the impact of  that trip.

I retired from teaching several year ago and since then I have had the opportunity to work in depth with watercolors.  I try to keep in mind the lessons of Matisse and Picasso, the inspiration of my student artists, and the support of my family.  I hope people viewing my work will smile, put aside their troubles, and find visions of freedom and joy.                                        Linda Terhark