The Calgary Art Market is pleased to add a new artist to our roster: Terry Kruse. Terry’s fearlessness of colour and bold shape is evident in her large-scale vibrant pieces. Learn more about Terry’s story, technique and inspiration in this post.
Did you always know you were going to be an artist?
I always wanted to be an artist and as a young girl would spend hours drawing while sitting across the table from my dad, a talented but undiscovered artist. He would create these beautiful drawings and I would watch, learn and sometimes copy him.
I worked as a graphic designer for many years but my real dream was to be a full-time visual artist. Even then, as a designer, I always had an art piece in the works and would spend the evenings and weekends painting or drawing and my spare time thinking of my next piece.
Creating is something I must do and I as long as I can remember I have spent everyday either painting or creating or designing in some way.
What inspires you?
I love the mountains and moved from Winnipeg in the 80’s to be closer to them. I love to hike and spend as much time as I can in the warmer months hiking while photographing nature. I love to look down and imagine the world as an ant would see it – enormous flowers and plants, rocks that would be mountains. My art shows these imagined worlds as I think a miniature being would see them.
Describe your aesthetic/style/technique and how is it unique?
My method involves the manipulation of canvas, along with instinctive and controlled pouring of paints. Each time I pour the viscosity of the proceeding layers changes and the blending creates vibrant colours with rich hues, showing beautiful movement and depth. To me, the art somehow breaths and while smooth, has a visual texture with elements, fine lines and blending that I wouldn’t be able to create with a brush.
How has your art evolved in the past 5-10 years?
People that have known me for a few years remember my carved art pieces. These, often large, bas-relief art pieces, were painted and mounted on wooden panel boards. I showed them for a few years and sold a few but the art was expensive to make and messy to prepare. I would work next to a vacuum with a mask on and dust was always everywhere. They also took a long time to create and I would spend up to a month on a piece. When I moved to a new house I made a decision to discontinue this method of creating.
I then spent a couple of years trying various art style experiments while I tried to find the art I was meant to create. One day I saw a video of someone pouring paint on loose canvas. I tried it and fell in love with not only the method but also the results.
It was when I let the paint flow and blend that I was truly able to express freedom I was missing in other forms of art. Pouring helped the composition evolve in a dance between me, the artist, and the paints. With the freedom of movement came joy from the balance of colours, their blending and the process. It is a sort of magic. I am able to create a visual texture with elements, fine lines and blending that I couldn’t create with a brush. I love that each piece is truly one of a kind, exclusive, impossible to repeat. I know this because I have tried to repeat my favourites but each time they become completely different.
What is the piece of art you are most proud of and why?
My painting: Birds in Paradise (sold), was my first really successful poured painting. This was the piece that told me that yes, I can make this method my own and I could make art a full time profession.
How do you know when a work is finished?
I am sure that I am like many artists in saying, you know when a piece is finished. Sometimes I will think that I have a few more days to go on a piece but then all of a sudden it is done today, not tomorrow. Often I will do several pours on a piece. This will be pour, let it dry and pour again. Yet sometimes they are done in one pour. It is like if I do any more the piece will be overdone.
What is your most important tool in your studio?
Over the last couple of years I have found various elements that work well with my method but I would have to say my most important tool is my pouring cups. I found cups at a dollar store that are airtight, have measurement lines and hold just the right amount of paint. I probably have about 65 of them right now and will often refill them with mixed paint as it is pouring off the painting.
If you couldn’t be an artist what would you like to be and why?
If I couldn’t be an artist I would love to be a home renovator. I learned Sketchup a few years ago in order to design our personal home renovation and have done drawings of all the rooms as well as the exterior and landscaping, so as to modernize our 70s original home, We have done renovations to several of our own homes over the years and I love modernizing the rooms and finishes. In these renovations I have designed, tiled, painted, built and done finishing work but it is seeing the finished product that is so satisfying.
Our home right now is a slow work in progress but there is something rewarding in taking a tired home and making it beautiful again.