Sonya Terpening studied with professional artists from an early age. She received an art degree at Oklahoma State University, but her advanced studies came from knowing and painting with some of the great American artists such as Betina Steinke, Donald Teague, Richard Schmid, and Lowell Ellsworth Smith. She paints in watercolor and oil.
Terpening was the 2014 recipient of the National D.A.R. Women in the Arts Recognition Award. In 2013 and 2010, she was the Smelser-Vallion Visiting Artist at the Oklahoma State University’s Doel Reed Center for the Arts in Taos, New Mexico. She was a Featured Artist at the 2006 Rendezvous at the Gilcrease Museum, and she has been an invited artist to the Prix de West at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for twenty-three years. Terpening participated in the Autry’s Masters of the American West from 1999 to 2008, and received the Autry National Center Award for Watercolor in 2008. She is happy to be back. Articles about her art have been featured in Art of the West, Persimmon Hill, Southwest Art, and Western Art Collector magazines.
Sonya Terpening’s paintings are in the permanent collection of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City; the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma; the State of Oklahoma’s Capitol Building; Edmon Low Library, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater; the Forbes Collection, New York City; the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Fort Worth, Texas; the Museum of the American Railroad, Frisco, Texas; and the Pierce Museum, Corsicana, Texas.
Though she lived many years in Oklahoma, Grapevine, Texas has been her home for twenty-seven years. She feels that living in both Oklahoma and Texas has been like living with the fable of the West—each is so rich in history and legend that as an artist she cannot help but seek it out and try to share it with others.
Sonya Terpening’s art is about sharing the great and fascinating world around her. “When something moves me, be it a story or a scene, I want to express it in color and light so that the viewer can share the feeling. There is nothing more beautiful than this great land and the people living in it. I am drawn not only to the American West as it exists today but also to its history. There is something about the past that we all share that makes us better for remembering it. I think art touches the soul and teaches in ways words cannot.”
Sonya Terpening is represented by Great American West Gallery, Grapevine, Texas; Howell Gallery, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Whistle Pik Galleries, Fredericksburg, Texas.
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