DAVID WILLIAM TERRY, OPA, PSA (b. 1958)
I create representational oil paintings of people and places based on my personal experiences with my subjects. Most of my work consists of commissioned portraits. These range from CEOs of major companies to children and pets. I love this work because truly capturing a person in a painting presents one of the most satisfying experiences I can imagine. I expect myself to capture the essence of every subject I paint, and I am relentless in pursuing this goal. All of my commissioned portraits come with a promise that they will meet or exceed client expectations.When I am not painting commissions, I work on landscapes and figurative paintings in oil.
I use traditional, time-tested methods and materials to insure my work will last for generations. I regularly consult with materials experts, museum curators, and fellow artists to stay up to date with the latest research on methods and materials. I use oil paints made from the finest pigments and oils available, fine linen or cotton, and all canvases are mounted on wood or aluminum to insure maximum stability.
Why This Kind of Art?
Painting portraits has been my dream for almost 40 years. I would see them in museums
and long to be able to create them. They seemed for me to be the most magical art. With the
simplest of tools, an artist could bring a canvas to life so fully that 500 years later we can
look at it and feel we know the person in the painting. Great landscapes and figure paintings also captivated me. I would spend hours on end every chance I got just studying any masterpiece I could find.
My Inspiration: Nature
"Indescribable beauty surrounds us constantly. As a painter, I seek to capture a glimpse of this immense treasure I am given through the gift of sight. I want my work to be about this beauty. I want my craftsmanship to be only a tool in telling the story of the beauty and dignity I see every day in all things. For me, the key to understanding the craft of painting comes through the study of the work of masters combined with a rigorous study of nature. Personally, I am not concerned with style or originality, but only with a sincere effort to inspire joy and respect for the world we live in.”
The painters who have most profoundly influenced me have been Rembrandt, Velasquez, Van Dyke, and Sargent. These artists could paint just about any subject, but their portraits most captivated me. I also love landscape artists such as Constable, Turner, Courbet, Corot, Monet, and Inness.
My overriding hope is to inspire a young person the way I was inspired by these great artists. The path these artists set me on has given me great joy and purpose. I cannot imagine the person I would be were it not for the work of these artists.
What Led Me to a Career as an Artist?
I have felt “called” to paint since my first encounter with a Rembrandt self portrait at the Frick Museum in New York. Since then the path hasn’t always been clear, but the calling has been strong. When I graduated from college in the early ‘80s, no one I knew could recommend a place to train me as a representational artist. I know now some places existed, but we didn’t have the internet back then, and representational art was simply not being taught in any of the major art schools, at least as far as anyone I knew could tell me.
I copied masters’ drawings, studied with local artists, copied paintings in museums, and gradually became somewhat proficient. After a few years of struggling, I took my father up on his offer to send me to law school. Though I excelled at some parts of that profession, after 15 years, in January 2003, I decided to start painting full time. I found a masterful portrait artist and studied with him for three years and have been on my own since.
Painting portraits excites me. Whether it’s the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or
someone’s grandchild, I love getting to know the person I’m painting and the process of
capturing them on canvas.
I also love the materials, the oils, the pigments, the linens. For me, part of the great
magic comes from taking these simple things and turning them into heirlooms that will
last centuries. I am passionate about learning how the various ingredients work and how
to best insure the painting lasts for many generations.
Some of the “big deals” for me have included honors from the Portrait Society of
America, being accepted into the Schaefer Portrait Challenge in Hawaii, being included in
“The Portrait Project,” (in which the finest living portrait artists are invited to paint the
publisher of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine), as well as invitations to participate in
numerous juried shows, including those hosted by the Oil Painters of America and the
Salmagundi Club of New York.
Perhaps my greatest honor has been the response from clients who tell me I have
absolutely captured their loved one. Recently, I painted a commissioned portrait of the
three generations of men who had been at the helm of a family business. The elder of
them, the grandfather, had died before I was brought in, and I had to work from photos
and a model. I felt as proud as I could when I learned that his widow walked up and
touched the painting at the unveiling. These stories fuel my fire and make me want to
continue overcoming whatever obstacles come along.
ABOUT DAVID WILLIAM TERRY
David William Terry, J.D., OPA, PSA, was born in Temple, Texas, in 1958, and has been a professional artist since 1981, full time since 2003. Terry specializes in fine art portraits and landscapes. His work hangs in numerous public and private collections. He is a member of the Salmagundi Club of New York, the Portrait Society of America, and the Oil Painters of America.
Visual art has been Terry's passion for over 35 years. He received formal training in fine art photography at Colorado College. As a painter, Terry trained privately with a master portrait artist and attended numerous workshops with today's leading artists.
Terry's portraits include some of the top civic leaders, clergy, CEOs and families in the world. Terry was recently selected by Fine Art Connoisseur magazine for the honor of painting its publisher, a commission only available to the world’s best artists.
For most of the last 14 years Terry has specialized in formal portraiture. These have been commissioned works that hang in private and public collections. Terry has won awards in two international contests sponsored by the Portrait Society of America, and been selected to show in numerous juried shows.
Portrait of Michael, published in Today's Masters editorial in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine.
Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibition (juried), Anderson Fine Art Gallery, Saint Simons Island, GA, November 17 - December 16, 2017
Portrait of Poet, Naomi Shihab Nye, published in Today's Masters editorial in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine.
Haines and Friends Grant Recipient Exhibition, Ashland, Oregon, April 8-10.
Official Presentation of Portrait of Governor Leslie Jensen, South Dakota State Capitol, Pierre, South Dakota, July 8th.
Oil Painters of America Salon Exhibit (juried), Castle Gallery, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, September 30 - October 29.
Oil Painters of America Western Regional Exhibition (juried), Marshall Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, November 4-30
Members' Photo Exhibit (juried), Salmagundi Club of New York, New York, NY, August 1st - 12th.
Nautical Exhibition (juried), Salmagundi Club of New York, New York, NY, June 20th - July 14th.
Urban Romance Exhibit (juried).Salmagundi Club of New York, New York, NY, May 23rd to June 3rd .
Noble Nocturne Exhibit (juried). Salmagundi Club of New York, New York, NY, May 23rd to June 16th
Members Exhibit, April 25 - May 19 Salmagundi Club of New York, New York, NY, April 25th to May 19th.
Portrait of Eric Rhoads, Accepted in Fine Art Connoisseur's Portrait Project, published 2016
Schaefer Portrait Challenge (juried, every three years), Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Maui, January 13th- March 22nd; Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 10th to September 25th.
Portrait of Tommy Townsend, Presented at Texas Trial Lawyers, Austin, Texas, June 8th.
Little Jewels, Balcony House Gallery in Dallas, Texas, December 20th, 2014,
American Landscapes, Balcony House Gallery in Dallas, Texas, October 25th, 2014
The Painted Spring, Balcony House Gallery in Dallas, Texas, April 5th, 2014
St. Mark's School of Texas 1964-76
Colorado College 1977-81 BA Drama
South Texas College of Law 1983-85 JD
Bachelor of Arts, 1981