Local artist prepares for first showing

Theresa Richard (pronounced rih-SHARD) has two inseparable loyalties — to her family and to her art.
She refers to herself as a “mother artist,” and the past 10 years of her life testify to that.
Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY: Theresa Richard at work on a piece in progress.Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY:
Theresa Richard at work on a piece in progress.

According to Richard, that will never change, even as she readies for her premiere showing.

Her children, Zachary, Zoe and Zane, have now reached an age that affords Richard a little more ability to spend time with her canvasses, but she noted, “They definitely are a driving force in my creation. They really keep me in the moment.”

She credited her husband, Jerry, for his role. “I’ve always said he was going to be my manager,” said Richard. “He has a great head for business, awesome ideas — we make a really good team.”

They met in 1983, right after she graduated from high school.

Her artistic life developed slowly over time, and she kicked around various occupations — “safe little jobs,” as Richard put it.

She wasn’t ready to travel the path of the starving artist, but the desire remained strong.

“I always found my way through doors to other artists,” she said. “I was always studying with some artist or taking some course. I never let go — I couldn’t.

“I wasn’t ready to take that risk yet, but it got to the point that there was no other choice,” she continued. “I couldn’t do these jobs and not be the artist I was supposed to be.”

Originally from Rockland, Md., Richard said she’d circled in the artists’ sphere from the earliest years.

She noted her parents as great supporters of the arts, calling her mother, Daphne Beckman a “walking theatrical person.” (She was also the subject of Richard’s first portrait.)

Her father, William Beckman, was a teacher and elementary school principal.

“He worked with teachers on the cutting edge after the 60s, with new ideas in teaching,” Richard recalled. “I was around a lot of artists and musicians during my elementary years.

“One of those great teachers from my father’s school — I’ll never forget her,” she said. “She came to me, and she said to my father, ‘This child is an artist — keep her supplied.’”

According to Richard, he did, and remains one of her main supporters to this day.

In her late 20s, Richard gained acceptance to the prestigious Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore).

She characterized the school as one of the top four in the country. “I never thought I’d get into that art institute,” she admitted.

Jerry worked in sales, supporting her financially as their children began to arrive.

She sold a piece here and there, and did some mural work, but focused mainly on the family.

Richard said she’d created a family-centered studio over the years, sketching and working with pastels while the children were still young.

Eventually, she set up easels in the dining room so they could all create together.

“I didn’t want to teach them how to do it — I wanted exploration,” she said. “I would rather take walks with them, and watch them explore and pick up things, pay attention to the moment, pay attention to the beauty of the day, of how the light was shining on something.

“That’s what I feel my gift is — to bring that moment,” she said.

Richard’s natural subjects reflect more than just sunshine.

“That’s what’s so beautiful about art — I put it out there, but others help me complete the meaning of it,” she said. “I need the viewer as much as I need to do it.”

With her youngest, Zane, now six years old, Richard has added considerably to her body of work since last spring.

“When I saw a window this summer, I grabbed it,” Richard explained. “They were old enough to be playing around me and working with me, so that I could do some focused work.

“I’ve been painting in my head for 10 years — I think it’s time,” she said.

Richard will have her premiere showing at Bear Trap, later this month.

“I feel awesome,” she said. “I feel ready — I’m really excited to share.

For more information, contact Theresa Richard at 537-4654.