The Upper Echelon
Even the title of this painting displays the humor and mirth injected into this artistic endeavor. The interplay between the myriad of warm colours placed against the luminous blues and teals serve to embellish the cacophony of colours and shapes. This painting is both amusing and imaginative, and it shows the artist’s adept use of the elements of art.
On a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Teyjah was in her hotel room when the building became engulfed by a violent storm. Not knowing exactly what was going on, she chose to hide in her bathtub that night, and placed the mattress from her bed over top of her for protection. The next day she read that they had been caught in the eye of three tornadoes, and read about all the havoc and destruction it had caused.
Teyjah describes the experience — “The sky was blood red and there was an eerie silence when we were in the eye of the tornado. I could feel and hear the violence of the storm, but could not watch it all unfold from where I was huddled in the tub. There had been ripped up highways, cars in trees, rooftops and houses torn apart. This imagery was created from the news stories and photos I read about the next day.” This painting came out of the chaos and destruction that she experienced all around her, but the colour palette she used does not impose a sense of fear.
This painting represents a quintessential colour field of energy, and conveys an impressionistic feeling the artist has of an experience in the American Southwest. The artist recalls this memory: “One very early morning, while driving through the Powell Lake region, I was privy to a most exquisite sunrise. There were intense shifting shades of colour that engulfed the scenery, and each pillar of rock seemed to take on a light and colour of its own. Suddenly an ominous storm gathered and let go of its precious cargo. Following the storm, the desert came alive with flowered cacti. Lizards were scampering about when a hungry coyote appeared – he paused and glanced at me for what seemed an eternity. Everything in the world seemed right in that incredible moment when the coyote looked me in the eye and scampered off.”
Teyjah actually created this painting at a time when she was feeling discouraged about her work and her career as an artist. She had been comparing herself to another artist who painted in a realistic style, and was even considering quitting. It was during this time that she started to paint this piece, which was entirely brown. She worked with the attitude that it didn’t matter what she did to this paper because she was quitting, and so had nothing to lose.
While painting it, she used a spritzing technique using alcohol as a way to break up the acrylic paints and create an effect. This caused two things – one was the interesting floral textures in the paint, and the other was that she became a little drunk due to the amount of alcohol in the air. The end result was that she liked the painting, which caused her to get re-energized as an artist. This work of art actually changed her mind about quitting. She discovered in doing this painting that her strength is not creating representational works of art, but working more impressionistically, and creating from emotion.
“Working totally out of my head…. totally instinctually and having fun is my best friend. Creating paintings without expectations can be the most freeing. It may have been the spirit of the coyote and how I recalled his look into my soul, or the dizzying effect of the spritzing, but something about this painting made me feel good again”. ‘Desert Bloom’ reminds us of those fleeting moments in life when the world is in perfect harmony and we intimately feel our connection to nature and life.
Colourful, intricate, and evocative are all descriptors one can use for this most rhythmic portrayal of an actual abandoned mine. Shapes, lines and colours are used to convey a dramatic and compelling sense of loss and abandonment. There it stands, albeit destitute, still proud and still braving the elements. The Pioneer Mine was an actual mine that operated near Bralorne in and around 1934.
This was Teyjah’s favourite of the two Hibiscus as she saw it as very voluptuous and sensual. In painting this, she recalled she had a big supply of red watercolours, but could not identify the reds at the time as they were not written down on her palette. This worked particularly well for the outcome, as she didn’t know what colours she was using — just that it was a variation of red. It began as a plein air drawing, and then was finished in the studio with watercolours. As you can see from viewing this piece, Teyjah’s experimentation, and willingness to not control the colour palette just worked!
This piece garnered Teyjah’s acceptance into the Federation of Canadian Artists. It was inspired by the Venus of Dusseldorf pendant she owned. Teyjah took this design, then abstracted the form, and then further added the symbols for male and female to demonstrate a ying and yang component. Ultimately, the persona she created became the Madonna, representing all of life.
This is a vibrant piece inspired by Van Morrison’s legendary song. It is a moody, groovy, red and purple abstract that allows a person their own interpretation of this enigmatic yet dynamic painting. ‘It brings to mind what a moonlit night feels like, a sense of mystery in the darkness, yet with an interplay of light. I painted this on a dark stormy day which affected how I felt, and how the painting turned out.” This sultry beautiful piece is another of Teyjah’s favourites.