Painting began for me in 2002. In that year, life threatening illnesses encouraged me to find an outlet for my anger, which in turn led to a paintbrush and college. Seeking a catharsis for my emotions, I struggled when I could not hold my paintbrush. From the infection and reconstruction and painful illnesses that followed, I lost most of the use of my hands. Wondering why I initiated this endeavor to paint when I was a novice and in so much pain, I still could not drop the very tool to delineate how I felt. I painted, I dropped, I painted, I dropped. I created special attachments so that I could hold onto a paintbrush. I learned to overcome.
My first creations were self-based, representing the conflict and struggle of pain while finding the will to live. My fears and physical imperfections manifested into my art and were titled such as "The Art of Surviving," which encompassed my loss of breasts and reconstructive surgery. This artwork, shown yearly, is considered haunting, yet realistic, and has reached the public with wincing surprise. This difficult time in my life is depicted in the paintings in my “A Reconstructed Life” gallery which can be found on my Gallery page.
The annual “The Art of Surviving” art show is held at Art Works in Richmond, VA . The show is held to promote breast cancer awareness and provide a forum for other women artists whose lives had been touched by breast cancer, mastectomies or other breast health issues and who want to share their experiences and stories through their works of art. The show provides a healing place for artists and a way to educate women on the importance of mammograms and to promote an understanding of illnesses that can claim a woman’s breasts.
My vision has changed over the years and, as I began to heal, I longed to capture the life of individuals or the essence of humanity, which I entitled “eyes of the soul” as all humans endure life. In essence, I wanted to paint humans in a surrealistic way, representing the face in an emotional, unique and evoking way, creating a story - a past and a future. I use the eyes as a tool into the human psyche while arousing emotions in my artwork.
It has been my blessing to have created over 600 oil and pastel paintings since I began painting in 2002. I continue to use art as therapy and leave it behind as a mark for those who identify with my life’s journey. I now spend my life “Painting Away The Pain” and telling the world that beauty resides in us all. I have moved from “A Reconstructed life” to “The Art of Surviving” and into the “Eyes of the Soul”.
"Portrait Of The Portrait Painter"
"The Long Journey"
portrait of Terry Lynn Smith
by Artist Judy Fechino
"A Reconstructed Life"
"Terry and Santa 2016"