Tereza Terra: Pictures of my soul are stories...

For our next interview I addressed and invited a very active ladyTerka. She likes adventure and therefore her life is also full of adventure. She likes dancing with fire, riding horses, working with children and adults – she taught them natural communication. She likes travelling, music, playing the guitar, drums, piano... Terka gets inspired by plenty of things. And I hope that her lifestyle and creative work will become an inspiration to somebody else.

Please, tell us something about yourself and your work.
I have been drawing, painting and doing other creative work since my childhood, ever since I can remember. However, I've never had enough patience for drawing real things. That's why I would always play with colours and lights of my own fantasy. I have never attended any longterm courses or art schools. However, a strong and influencial teacher, has always been my Dad who has been a painter since about the time I was born.

After graduating from a high school of agriculture, I decided I wanted to set out on my own journey, create my own path, but the clear form of it was still in process. A few months at a pedagogical university helped me decide that my next school would be the school of life. I quit the university and started doing fabric painting, set up my own website, started selling pieces of my work at markets and also organized a few small fashion shows and exhibitions of my paintings. At that time I wasn't able to support myself financially and so I decided to quit all this. I packed everything I had into boxes, put them to my friends' attic and left for New Zealand. Almost a year of working and travelling around New Zealand as weel as a few weeks in India gave me a lot. Some of us may not need to travel to the other side of the world to discover what they've always had inside of them. But I love adventure. I am very grateful that I decided to travel. I still meet amazing people that are great teachers of life for me and that support me on my jorney of doing creative work.

From the beginning of this year I've been working a part of each month as a caretaker in England and the other part of the month I've been creating a completely different way of life for myself. Just the way I've always wished it would be. It's not easy but it's worth it. It's the same with my drawings and paintings. Step by step my ideas come to life, I learn, I grow. This year I'm planning to change my website completely, to work on silkscreen in cooperation with a fashion designer and dressmaker who's also a friend of mine – Linda Dedeciusová. Also tattoo design, bodypainting... I've been working on a set of oracle cards for a while now. Martina Rosemary, who's been using oracle cards for a while now and who also organizes seminars of family constelations as well as women's circles, will write all the texts for the set of oracle cards. I've had a lot of long term projects that will take a while but will be worth it. The journey itself is the point.

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Inner Power

Picture from the archives of Tereza

How did you get to drawing and painting?
I've always loved doing creative things and besides, if you grow up in the house where there's always a smell of paint, your father wears a painter's smock and a paintbrush behing his ear, it's not so surprising. :-)

How would you describe your lifestyle?
My style...
Emotions, stories and energy...
Inspiration, wilderness and colours...

Are you employed or freelance? What do you like most about your work?
This year, for the first time, I'm officially emploed as a caretaker in England. It is a meaningful and flexible job. I spend two weeks working in England and two weeks working on myself and for myself here in the Czech republic.

What I love most about my job is that it gives me financial independence, free life and it is not a job I would do only for money, it gives me a feeling of deep satisfaction.

What did you want to become when you were a child?
I don't think I ever wanted to be a person who's a part of the system. I've always wanted to be tattooed as an Indian, ride horses, create things and dance... I saw myself in the people I was surrounded with so my models were always very creative.

What or who influenced your artistic work, both the traditional or digital form?
As I said before, it was my Father who influenced me most. He doesn't only paint pictures but also forges knives, does sculptures, works with wood... That's also my answer to the next question about my favourite artist. I also admire the work by Josephine Wall. What also inspires me is music, it brings up pictures in my mind. There were years when I would only create work while listening to music of Maok. Recently I've been listening to for example Ludovico Einaudi...

Recently I've been interested in the paintings of the Maoris in New Zealand. Their paintings are very simple and connected to nature and stories. I can feel how deep their paintings are.

What inspires you?
My paintings are stories of soul. These stories are inspired by Terra – the Earth (in Latin, Portuguese...) in its beauty, perfection and uniqueness, together with all the colours, animals, forests and mountains, the sea and last but not least plenty of people. Who is Terra? Terra or our beautiful Earth is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Just like my emotions, inner processes and changes... Development of life. Love.

I am grateful for all that... to people who only pass me by and bring something new, and to those who stay and make the inspiration deeper. And to myself that I continue this journey which is full of inspiration. Since I was a child I've been dancing with fire and riding horses. I've worked with children and adults, I taught them natural communication. Everything is closely connected. Another inspiration I get is through my love for music, playing the guitar, drum, piano and massage...

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God dwells in me just like me

Picture from the archives of Tereza

What would you like to say to all the (budding) artists?
If you are yourself, you are a gift to everyone else.

Because in being yourself you'll find the genuineness as well as power to create and learn. I believe that talent is not everything. For me the word “talent” means “love for creating”. That's enough if you want to draw or create for yourself. But my Dad told me something that's been with me on my journey for a while now: “If you want to tell people stories and you want them to understand, you must learn to tell these stories throught a clear and comperensible language.” That requires a lot of drive and effort, discipline and patience – that is something that us – artists – have often very little of. :-) However, the journey itself is the point.

What artistic materials do you like working with and why?
I often work with simple things – paper, pencil and watercolor pencils. I often travel and this is the most practical way for me to have a way to work anywhere and anytime. At the airport, with horses, at a yurta or in an English household during my free time... But I love working with a paintbrush and paints on different materials when I can create the conditions for it. I used to paint on fabric, dresses, table cloths and clothes for a long time... But also paintings or paintings on the walls.

Another big part of my work is bodypainting. Even though I've been tempted by it for a while, I only started doing more of it this year. It is closely connected to my passion for symbolic rituals of tattooing. I've done many kids' face paintings at various events... I love diversity and new things...

Do you combine digical techniques with the traditional ones? If so, for what reason?
I don't like working with computers so I only use them to scan my pictures into a computer. However, I'm considering that I would start using computers more so that I could do more drafts/designs for silkscreen. But I positively prefer working with my hands.

Do you have your own process (habit/customs) while working? What is it?
Process... :-) Yes. I put on music that touches my heart and I observe what's going on inside of it. Then I connect the observations of my heart to my hand, pencil and paper, that's very important. It is a sort of meditation. These so called rules of meditation are very important. It's important for me to empty my mind, breathe deeply, freely and relax completely. Otherwise I couldn't get the feelings of my heart through to the paper. I simply tune myself into painting just like we tune our musical instruments... It is sometimes such a strong process that it's difficult to return from the world of a pencil or paintbrush back to the world that I share with others... During the drawing or painting I gradually get the topic/theme of my painting and the story... Sometimes I know the topic in advance and I can see the supporting image that I find somewhere around me – in a different picture or on the Internet – it serves me as a model for drawing. I observe it and learn how to draw it – for example with the picture of a dancing woman I need to know the posture of her body. Paintings of real things are now a great challenge for me.

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Freedom in connecting

Picture from the archives of Tereza

Terka, could you please tell us about your recent projects? What creative work have you been doing recently? What have been your most interesting projects?
Painting on clothes and kids' face paintings at various events. I've also participated in seminars “Women to women,” that were about personal growth and where I had a whole block on creative work which included a discussion with Mrs Pokorná from the city of České Budějovice. The topic was our beauty as such, not the one that the media and the society present to us. Then I lead a practical part where I assisted women with connecting to their inner voice (guidance) and understanding that anyone of us can create, he or she just needs to find their own way how to connect to themselves. We painted on T-shirts that women took home with them as a memento. It was a beautiful project. I've also had a similar project at children's summer camps that I organized together with my Mum. We taught children that everything they draw or create is always right, there's are no mistakes. It is our way of expressing. We just showed them the way how to paint more with feelings and how to find the way, how to find the next step when we feel like we ruined the picture, like when we think we spoiled it. We also painted on T-shirts. An interesting project with children was painting in groups. Respectings others and not being afraid to express one's own opinion or feeling and to actually manifest oneself by engaging onself in one common painting. The children created beautiful paitings. I love working both with kids and adults. Though I must admit that I enjoy working with kids more, they're more open. This year I started attending a special training – A guide along the path – at an experimential centre in Zdebořice. I believe it will significantly influence my work. I hope to aim my work more at working with people. I miss it and it fulfills me.

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Picture from the archives of Tereza

What are you plans for the future?
To live and be happy :-)

Author: Jarmila Kacerlová

Czech version: Moje obrazy duše jsou příběhy