Customers and friends of Beyond in downtown Bonners Ferry are more than likely well aware of the incredible body of artwork created by Theresa Stahl since one entire wall of the shop is dedicated to her unique paintings. Loosely based on mystical/fantasy themes, Owl's Flight, as Theresa's art business is aptly named, is one of the more distinctive collections in the county and well worth a visit to Beyond to view the breadth of her artistic talent and vision.
"There is always a story behind each painting," said Theresa. "Sometimes the story is personal, sometimes based on dreams I've had, but it's important for me to let the process flow. Sometimes I find that impressions of my grandmother, my daughter or myself emerge in the paintings and I don't realize it until the painting is complete. Lots of times I'll wake up and feel compelled to draw or sketch what I dreamt."
Many of Theresa's renderings revolve around mythological subject matter, given a distinctive twist with her use of pulsating color. From a rainbow-hued trotting horse named "Zephyr" to mermaids, satyrs, centaurs, unicorns and fairies, the characters out of myths and legends are popular subjects for Theresa's paint brush.
Amid the fantastic landscapes, archetypal images of moons, suns and butterflies, and totem animals in various colors are the arresting depictions of the powerful feminine. Whether full body or facial portrait, the sometimes fierce gaze of each unique woman evokes a simultaneous sense of both mystery and candor. The painting "Speak Your Truth" features the wide, turquoise eyes of a wild-haired woman which draw the viewer into the intricate butterfly painted on her throat chakra. The lavender-eyed, dark haired beauty featured in "The Painted Fan" gazes into the distance. "Adorned," a woman in three-quarter profile displays the intricate artistry of menhdi. Feminine power, in all its permutations, is a dominant theme of Theresa's work.
"It's been fun to see how my art has changed since my kids were little. Shutting down my e-bay store, where I was pressured to paint fairies and mermaids has freed me up to paint where my passion lies. I don't do much cuddly, fluffy art anymore. My work is now darker, more goth. Now that I am done homeschooling and the store is on its feet, I am gradually shifting more of my time to painting, " she stated.
Theresa credits much of her talent to "good genes." Not only did she grow up in a family where creativity was encouraged, on her fifteenth birthday, her grandmother, an accomplished artist and art teacher in her own right, presented Theresa with a set of art supplies. During high school, Theresa took one art class but found that her interest lay beyond the high school art curriculum.
"For my first art class project, I painted a Native American with a horse and an eagle feather. They wanted me to paint apples and vases. I didn't take any more art classes after that. I am a shortcut artist - I don't mix paint and I sketch right on the canvas. I usually have about six different projects going at one time! I have a thing for painting odd colored people - that's why fantasy is so fun: you can have a purple woman if you want!" she laughed.
What does the future hold for Owl's Flight?
"I may reopen my e-bay store and there is the possibility of book illustrations and prints," Theresa answered. "I find that the next painting I'm about to start is the one I'm most excited about. I feel like I have so many paintings inside me that I don't know if I have enough time to paint them all!"
The twenty-five paintings now on display and for sale in Beyond are a small representation of the variety of Theresa's talent. More of her work can be viewed on her website, www.owlsflight.com