Location: Lake Forest, CA
Describe your featured work:
When I made this painting it was one of the largest I had done (36″ x 58″). I was thinking about Psalm 104:2 “The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment” and I wondered at how marvelous that would be to see! The psalm speaks of Him being clothed in splendor and majesty. So I began with collage and made stencils for the incense that would hold the prayers of the saints. I used acrylic paint and ink added gold leaf around the head, which was influenced by all the icons I had the opportunity to look at during the long Orthodox masses in Arabic that went on for hours. The mystery evoked in the old cathedral on Street Called Straight was also playing a part as I created and worked on this piece. I’m not sure I’ve shared it before, at least not with many people. When I lived in Syria I was very good friends with the Patriach of the Orthodox church, which may seem surprising, but I loved going to visit him and he always seemed to have time for me. In a way I was thinking of him while painting this work. We were able to participate in the last Orthodox Easter week before I left Syria, which turned out to be the last one he officiated. He passed away the following December and I was grateful to have good memories of him.
Creating art, for me, is an act of obedience. I want my art to speak, to cut to something that bypasses words. In my art I want to communicate ideas and concepts that I feel when I am pondering scripture. An image will come to me, which I jot on a post it. I start with color and mark making to see where it leads or scribble a prayer with a brush and wash of color as the first marks of a painting. My work contains many layers creating history on the canvas or paper, that is an evolution of my response to ideas I have about God and his relation to us. It is not always a straight forward process. Frequently I employ contemporary metaphors in the work to help contrast the wisdom of the world and the hidden wisdom of God.
What are you making now?
I am currently engaged in learning to paint with oil and cold wax. I am very attracted to the possibilities and the work of other artists using the medium and am spending a year to develop my skills and see how my imagery can be translated using this medium. Surprisingly, it has led me to explore greater abstraction in my art, as well as more attention to different textures. The phases of drying time also force me to slow down and be more thoughtful as I work, and means I am working on several pieces at the same time.
I belong to CIVA because…
I have spent a lot of years working pretty much in isolation from other artists. I think I missed out on a lot of development that could have happened more quickly had I the opportunity for art talks with other artists. When I moved to southern California and found an art ministry at Saddleback Church, I was amazed there were other artists who wanted to create with God in mind. Then our first “field trip” was to a CIVA opening! I was dumbfounded with the speakers, the books, and the quality of the art being discussed. I never knew such a group could and did exist! I felt that I had found my people. I had never even hoped for such an organization. I had to become a member.
Teri Shagoury grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and went to UC, Davis where she majored in Studio Art. She studied with Wayne Thiebaud and William T. Wiley. In 1976 Teri moved to Syria and married there. In Damascus, God called Teri to Him and then asked her for my art talent. She had always worked on her art, but her imagery started to change. Unclear how art for God should look, Teri struggled. When she moved back to southern California in 2012, Teri discovered mixed media, and worked to develop a creative voice that felt authentic.
Follow Teri on Instagram: @teri.shagoury.