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.
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
Although 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, Mexico and Italy. Blessed indeed.
We sold our family home of 33 years in Issaquah WA and after two temporary moves, started settling in to our home in Green Valley AZ in January 2021.
Given my seemingly boundless curiosity, I don't limit myself to a single medium or technique. I'm attracted to rich color and texture. Pre-COVID I focused on abstract painting. After Covid lockdowns and zoom classes, I'm more interested in landscape and sketching. Perhaps being more grounded has helped feel safe in these turbulent times.
I love taking art workshops, it is so fun to create with others! I missed this greatly during covid. 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!