Heather Theurer is a formidible artist with paintings of ‘religious symbolism, fantasy realism, equine, and wildlife’. Her unique style includes up to 20 multitude layers of paint and glazes. Theurer is, remarkably, a self-taught artist. Her work has been recognized by the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. She lives with her family–including five kids–near Portland, Oregon. She was profiled previously on The Krakens for her Disney artwork.
You speak about your faith and the inspiration in your work. Although your work is not overtly religious, it feels spiritual in nature. How does your faith play into your art? My faith absolutely plays a role in the creation of my artwork. Like anyone, I have personal battles, experiences that I try to understand, and I am also affected by the struggles that tear at the world around us. My faith is what determines my attitude and inevitably what I create as a response to these things. Early on in my career, I would paint for the sake of painting. If I saw something I perceived as beautiful (which could range anywhere from a majestic horse to a lumpy toad), I would paint it. As my art matured, however, it took on a new purpose. It became a way to connect. And surprisingly, even though my faith differed from that of many of my viewers, I was able to connect with them through my art, in part because of its allegorical nature. I feel my faith is very clearly expressed in my work, but now that I think about it, my paintings are a little bit like the parables in the New Testament–meant to be understood by all, by some more than others, according to their own experience and willingness, but with no judgment attached to that understanding.
What’s your approach to juggling kids, travel to shows, and time in your studio? My approach is one of daily introspection. With all of that going on, and especially with children, I never know (entirely) from day to day what is going to be required of me. I have to be flexible. There are times, of course, when deadlines are looming and I have to get something done so I have to put my foot down, so to speak, but I strive to let the Lord guide. If it works out, I’ll paint for ten hours straight. If I see that my family needs me to spend time with them, then I do my best to be there for them. Throwing the shows in there is actually a good thing. They can be super stressful, but they also offer preset goal-lines that help to keep me moving in a steady forward motion creatively.