Artist of Note | Theresa Paden

Vibrant wildlife

Theresa Paden, Bison at Sunset, acrylic, 36 x 36.

Theresa Paden, Bison at Sunset, acrylic, 36 x 36.

This story was featured in the June 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  June 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

When she was 18 months old, Theresa Paden’s mother put her in a highchair and gave her some watercolor paints; all she said was, “Don’t drink the water.” Later, Paden attended festivals with her artist parents and began creating and selling small oil paintings. After attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, she pursued a career in graphic design, which eventually led her to work with the National Football League.

But when she married and had children, she became a stay-at-home mom and began painting full time in 2010. An animal lover, the artist drew extensive inspiration from the wildlife of the West, including horses, bison, longhorns, wolves, and bears. “I used to paint very realistically, but I didn’t want to be a human camera,” Paden says. “Anyone can just go out and take a photograph. I’m trying to do something that can’t be done with a camera by bringing out a lot of feeling and emotion.”

The Fauves, artists who emphasized strong color and expressive qualities in their work, inspired the artist. She draws from various masters like Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Vincent Van Gogh in creating her loose and spontaneous images. Paden’s focus on a strong light source complements the interplay of the bright, southwestern colors that dominate her work. “Often I’ll have the eyes be representational and as the painting moves out from the face, it gets looser,” she says. “With all the color and brush strokes, I try to capture the soul or essence of the subject.” —Mackenzie McCreary

Paden is represented by Kasum Contemporary Fine Art, Oklahoma City, OK; Wilde Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale and Tucson, AZ; and Tracy Miller Gallery, Manitou Springs, CO.

This story was featured in the June 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  June 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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