To contact Tecla, or if you are interested in one of her works, contact the Art Project Administrator in the Art Project Home Page.
I have drawn all of my life. I don't remember a time when I didn't. Because I lived in the country, and mostly outdoors, I learned to draw deer quite well at a young age. In the second grade my classmates begged me to draw pictures of deer for them. They asked so frequently that finally, in exasperation, I started trading lunch snacks for my drawings. That was my first experience as an entrepreneur!
In the fourth grade my teacher, recognized the gift I had for drawing and suggested to my parents that I take art lessons. I was ecstatic! After checking into the cost, my mother explained they couldn't afford lessons for me. I was crushed. Then I realized God was the "Master Artist of the Universe". After all, He painted the sunrise, sunsets, and everything in between. He could certainly teach me to draw. I made a deal with Him. If I drew 3 sketches a day, could He teach me to be an artist? I went every week to the library and checked out all the art books I could carry and devoured every one.
When I was 12, as I basked in the sun by a pond, I watched the geese dance on the water to the song of the bullfrogs. I wished my parents were with me to share this moment. I knew my mother was busy cooking and my father was working. They were always busy. The idea came to me that if I painted this peaceful scene, they could stop for a brief moment and enjoy God's creation. I ran home and found some old house paints and brushes in the basement. An old board made a perfect canvas. I began to paint. Time slipped away.
My thoughts were interrupted by heavy footsteps. My father was standing next to me. Startled, I tried to hide the brushes and painting. He stood silently and stared, then left. I was terrified. My father was a stern man and I thought for sure I was in for it. I cleaned the brushes, hid the painting and ran to my room. After several hours, I ventured to come downstairs expecting the "boom to drop". My father was standing in the kitchen with his arms full of canvases, brushes, oil paints, and an easel.
"If you're going to be an artist," he said, "you need the proper tools."
That was the beginning of my career as an artist.
After high school, I worked as a commercial artist until I married and had children. To supplement our income, I began to teach art lessons to children from home. I learned that teaching children to draw was more satisfying than anything I had ever done. Several years later, we opened an art gallery/frame shop. I painted portraits, restored statues and canvases, gold leafed frames, painted murals--and taught art. Our business flourished. We began to publish prints of my most popular paintings and sold them to small Catholic gift shops. Soon we were shipping them nationwide, even to Canada. My artwork was on display at the capital in Lansing, Michigan and gifted by the Right To Life movement to Tom Monaghan.
After 11 years, we closed the gallery due to the tragic death of our child. I continued to teach from home for the next 20 years and started an "after school" Art Program at the local public school. For my efforts I was given the Kiwanis Club "Make a Difference" award.
In recent years, I have taught art at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Wayne, Michigan; and St. Philomena's Academy in Middleville. The numerous commissions have included portraits, wall murals, and statue repair. The most tedious commissions were the restoration of the 14 paintings of the Stations of the Cross; and gold leafing St. Joseph's Catholic Church (which took 10 months and over 350 hours to complete). Although art is a part of who I am, my passion is and always will be, teaching young people to draw and paint.