Artist Terry McMahon‘s years as a wife and parent where spent all over the world, which sparked her interest in folk art. And while she had a college degree in art education, she never thought she’d spend 23 year teaching at Encinal and Hillview schools, which she did when the family returned to the states.

When she retired 12 years ago, ceramics beckoned. “All hand built,” she says, “and influenced by folk art.”

The ties to folk art continued when she picked up the paint brush and started working in acrylics. “I got interested in Mexican women themes, and some landscapes,” she says. “My art is very decorative and gravitates toward sculptural shapes and forms.”

She recently turned to abstract art, which is on display at the Portola Art Gallery within the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. We talked with her shortly before the Gallery closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I pull pieces together from various artworks I see to create my own design,” she says. “I’ll cut something out of a newspaper or magazine. I have a huge selection of things I draw from for ideas.”

She enjoys rearranging or redefining forms, whether in architecture, plants, animals, or people. Most of her work is imaginative, some even fanciful.

“I would like to paint every single day,” she says. “It’s such an escape.  If I’m feeling stressed I go to my home studio. Time flies! Pretty soon it’s time for dinner!”

While the gallery is closed as part of the shelter-in-place mandate, you can view Terry’s works online and contact her to purchase a painting.

Top photo by Scott R. Kline (c) 2020; “Arctic Light” (30×30, acrylic) is one of the featured artworks in Terry McMahon‘s exhibit “Brilliant Color…Bold Design” at the Portola Art Gallery.

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