Artist Profile: Scott Terry
Scott Terry has always had art in his blood, but it took a quiet revelation on the other side of the world to make him fully realize what his life’s calling would be. “I remember the exact moment I had what you would call an epiphany,” Terry recalls. “I was sitting in my hut in Bali in 1972, painting a sign for these kids who owned the place I was staying at, when suddenly I knew I’d be doing this for the rest of my life.”
As a child growing up in Rhode Island, Terry loved to draw and paint. After taking classes at the Rhode Island School of Design, he enrolled in a medical illustration program at Drew University in New Jersey with the goal of taking his passion for art into the “real world.” But the travel bug bit him, and beginning in 1972 he spent a few years traveling throughout Asia. He stayed for months at a time in Afghanistan, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India. Captivated by the art he encountered, Terry immersed himself in learning such diverse forms as batik design in Yogyakarta on the island of Java and block printing in Nepal.
When he returned to the United States in 1975, Terry studied painting at the Swain School of Design in New Bedford (now part of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth). Since then he has dedicated his life to painting and commercial fishing. “All I’ve ever done,” he says, “is paint, draw, and fish.”
Terry loves spending time outdoors, both at his summer home on Martha’s Vineyard and at his winter home in Vermont. In summer he fishes the waters of Nantucket Sound, and his brilliant yet subtle land and seascapes in soft purples and pale oranges are inspired by countless sunrises and sunsets witnessed from his boat. His full-moon scenes, on the other hand, are characterized by bold, striking colors. He paints mostly in oils but sometimes works with pastels.
A professional artist for nearly four decades, Terry continues to take on new challenges. His latest endeavor is fossil preparation; he prepares fossils for display in museums and private collections.
And the artist has never lost his love of learning. “When I’m painting, I know I’m learning,” Terry says. “It’s hard to put into words, but I know that I know things I didn’t know before I did the painting.” – Marina Davalos
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