Teena Stewart is professional artist/artisan with a passion for mixed media, jewelry making, glasswork, and creative reuse of recycled materials. She holds a BA from Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania (graphic design major) and is also a published author.

Teena’s mission is to reflect the love and joy found in the Creator’s creations – especially animals – and to move people to experience it at a deeper level.

Why did you choose to focus on art full-time?

I have always been creative and artistic and graphic art was my major when I went to college as an adult. Art is pretty much what I am designed to do. So, even when I worked traditional jobs, the art side of me kept rising to the surface. I ran my artisan business on the side but it was becoming more successful especially the online sales. A few years ago the place where I worked was undergoing radical change. I wasn’t happy anyway because what I was doing was very repetitious, death to anyone who is creative like me. I finally decided it was time take the leap off the cliff and make art my full-time job.

How would you describe your art and your style of painting?

I asked a friend to help describe what style my art is and she labeled it “contemporary.” I’ve tried to come up with a better term, but “contemporary” seems to be the best descriptor I can find. I tend to be experimental, always trying new things so you’ll find a variety of looks and sometimes it can be a bit funky. I don’t know that funky is a style, LOL.

Is there an animal you enjoy drawing most?

I seem drawn to horses a lot. I have a deep love for horses ever since I was a little girl. I used to play with my cousin’s cowboys and Indians small plastic figures but I only wanted to play with the horses. I briefly owned a pony which was given to me by my doctor because his son was going away to college. During that time we also lived right by a horse farm. I am smitten with them. Dogs run a close second. I have a lot of artisan gifts with dogs but I am just now starting to work them into my artwork.

What is your favorite painting you have ever done?

Hmm. Like many artists, I always see the flaws in what I do. I guess if I had to choose it would be a series of watercolor paintings of each of my three kids as children. They hang in my hallway at home. All of the scenes involve waterplay. There is one with my two girls in swimsuits in a washtub, one with my son at the beach holding a toy boat, and one with my middle daughter floating lazily in an inner tube on Smith Mountain Lake.

What inspires your art?

A variety of things.  It can be looking at another artist’s work and admiring their courage to be different, or the color, texture, subject matter. It can be something I’ve read, a movie, the way the sun hits a leaf…just about anything. I will say I was influenced by one of my professors in college. I took an illustration class from him and he taught me the importance of trying to convey a message through art, so I often wrestle with whether just to paint or draw something as I see it or give it a subliminal meaning.  You’ll find both in what I have done so far.

What is the most challenging part about being a mixed media artist?

For me trying to build a cohesive body of work that looks like it’s done by the same artist. I just love experimenting and trying new things but it gives my art a variety of looks which can make it harder for people to recognize my work.

What is the hardest thing to capture when drawing an animal?

I would say it’s the soul that is hard to capture. For instance, if I were to try to paint your dog, assuming you have one, it would be getting the essence of your dog into the painting so that you look at it and say, “Yes, that’s my dog.”  It’s very hard to do. It’s the tiniest touches, a look in the eye, a tilt of the head, differences in hues that can make or break it.

How many pets do you have and can you tell us a little about them?

I grew up with lots of pets, everything from hamsters to a pony. As an adult, I’ve owned two Scotties. Presently I have a rescued Red Bone Coone Hound (we think) named Aggie, short for Agatha Christie (because she’s a  super sleuth and likes to solve clues with her nose) and Skat, a long hair Angora. Both are rescues. They are learning to co-exist. Aggie is still very young and has led us on a merry chase, everything from eating all our solar lights to pulling all the tomatoes off the tomato plants because they look like balls. She’s especially fond of eating the asparagus growing in my garden.
Skat is an indoor-outdoor cat. She loves mooching dainty nibbles from me when I sit in my reading chair eating my snack, is fond of cuddling up in the full, newly folded laundry in the laundry basket and has learned how to hiss and growl since Aggie came on the scene in order to put her in her place. I don’t know if they will every become playmates but they are learning how to respect each other.

If you were to be an animal, which animal would you be?

Definitely a horse. I think they are one of the most beautiful creations.

Any tips for aspiring artists/animal artists out there?

You are an artist if believe and call yourself an artist. Hard work and persistence will eventually pay off. If there are no failures, there will be no successes.

If you would like to keep up with Teena Stewart or see more of her work,  find details below:

Website – serendipitinistudio.com

Facebook – facebook.com/SerendipitiniStudio

Google Plus – Personal -plus.google.com/u/0/+TeenaStewart

Google + Business: plus.google.com/u/0/b/115944516037432193497/?pageId=115944516037432193497

Twitter – twitter.com/Serendipitini

Youtube – youtube.com/channel/UCT41W45rsiUldrPzNxoaS9g

Pinterest – pinterest.com/teena_stewart/