Friday, January 20, 2012

Artist of the Week: Tekla Frey

Born a Connecticut Yankee in Norwalk, but raised mostly in the South (which would supposedly account for her drawl), Tekla Frey identified herself as an artist from a very young age. She still talks about the joy she felt as a child watching her crayons melt into a waxy rainbow on the living room radiator. She grew up to study art education and art history at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. After college, Tekla pursued artistic passions in practically every creative field, from graphic design and hand-painted clothing to ceramics and embroidery. In the early 90's, after a number of years working in traditional western styles of oil and watercolor, Tekla met Gan Yifei, a master painter in the Chinese brushstroke style. She says that the beauty, power, and tranquility of this style, aspiring to capture the life force (or “qi”), is what most appealed to her about the watercolor practice. After a few years honing her craft, she traveled twice to China for advanced training, first studying with one of China's premier painters, Huang Jing, at the Southwest China Normal University in BeiBei, and then at The Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China’s most prestigious visual arts institution. 

Her birds are my favorite of all of her subjects. Just look at the sass on this one! (Click on any of the images for a larger view.) I'm constantly amazed at how much personality she can convey with just one quick stroke of the brush. 
Tekla currently lives and works in Kingston, NY where she has enjoyed much success in the local art scene. Her new website launched this week to rave reviews.  She also happens to be my mom, and I'm incredibly proud of her and every one of her artistic endeavors. She inspires me every day to follow my passion.  

- Cathleen 

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