For four months in 2017, Colleen Rupke enjoyed my art at her workplace, the Sammamish Public Works Department. On the day we took down the show, Colleen shared what it was like working in the environment of these paintings. I was speechless and so moved. This is why I do art.

My Story


Explorer, traveler, rule breaker, fun seeker.  I am all these things and they influence every part of my life. Curiosity leads to experimentation and new ideas.  In life and in art, I'm always ready to try something new!


I grew up on a wheat farm in Kansas and went to a two-room schoolhouse with only 24 kids total in 8 grades.


I come from a family of amateur artists; my mom, one Grandma, and 2 out of 4 aunties were all painters.  So the idea of creating art was never foreign to me but just wasn't my main thing.


College and Corporate Work

At Kansas State University, I studied math and science until they started the Computer Science department. Then I was in one of the first graduating classes in Computer Science. The idea of sticking with one job function my whole career bored me. I like variety and adventure, right? So I started my career in consulting for one of the huge accounting firms. Over 10 years I worked all over the country, in 14 different states, in tons of different industries,  and learned and contributed a lot. 


Seattle and Family

Seattle came to the picture when I met and married my sweetie, John Gelber.  (Some people call me Terry Gelber.) We raised 3 wonderful (now adult) children.  After they'd grown up a bit, I spent 15 years working in the cellular industry for T-Mobile and AT&T, in the field of Business Intelligence.


The Turning Point

IAlthough I'd dabbled in art over the years, I was really drawn to create art when, in 2005, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of a support group, I joined a weekly painting class. The women in that class saved my sanity, and I got hooked on the expansiveness and joy of creativity.


I left the corporate world of computers, big data and cellular technology in 2014 to focus on travel and painting. Since then, I've been fortunate to study with various teachers in Seattle, Canada, and Mexico.


My Art

Given my seemingly boundless curiosity, I don't limit myself to a single medium or technique.   I'm attracted to rich color and texture.   RIght now, creating bold abstract paintings fills my days.  New materials easily catch my fancy and I've built quite a collection.  Like I said, I'm an explorer!


Being creative is a wonderful conduit for personal growth and discovery.  I love having more time to develop friendships and keep fit with Nia dance, hiking, and water sports with friends. 



I love taking art workshops, it is so fun to create with others!  Earlier in my career I taught programming classes at Bellevue College, gave talks at international conferences, and taught software classes to corporations and governments across the country.  Now I'm combining the teaching experience with my love of painting to teach fun, innovative painting classes with lots of hands-on time!



ArtEast Art Center 

Evergreen Association of Fine Arts

Center on Contemporary Art (COCA) Seattle

Fogue Studios, Seattle



Terry painting at her studio in Georgetown, Seattle

Applying finishing touches to a new painting.

A selfie of Terry Smith in front of a painting by Joan Mitchell at MOFA, Houston.

Loved studying contemporary art during February 2018 in Houston.  In the background is a huge (110"x78") painting called Tournesols by Joan Mitchell at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Terry Smith standing in front of one of her large flower paintings.

In front of one of my flower paintings, at my solo show at the Woodinville Wine Walk.