It isn't obvious at first the connection between angler and artist. One catches fish; the other captures light. At least, that's the idea. Spend any time along a riverbank and stare across the water, and you begin to imagine. There is an art to all of it, and to all of it, it is an art. The time of day. The position of the sun and the light it casts. The time of year. The colors of the shallow and the deep. The complex certainty of the water as it flows and twists and turns downstream. The hushed rhythm that comes when your mind has wandered as freely as the scene before you. The excitement at getting it just right and the disappointment of the one that got away. The hours of practice and patience, of mistakes made, and lessons learned. Everything is studied and imagined, and nothing is taken for granted. Tomorrow is another day, and the angler, the artist, and Warrior will be back out there again.
Warriors & Quiet Waters is honored to feature the work of ten renowned artists as they quick-finish their paintings or sculptures during our live auction at this year's Warrior Taste Fest. We're sharing behind-the-scenes stories of the artists as excitement builds for our biggest fundraising event of the year. We hope you enjoy their stories of what inspires them, their connection to WQW, and how it feels to finish a painting in front of a crowd.
"760? That's San Diego, isn't it?" A simple area-code recognition as a by-product of having traveled and lived extensively in the southwest began the friendly series of phone calls and emails with award-winning, Montana-based artist Terry Cooke Hall. We had the pleasure of interviewing her to talk about her family's military service, mentorship, and the gift Montana has given her.
WQW: How did you hear about Warriors & Quiet Waters and Warrior Taste Fest?
Terry: My husband and I attended the event in 2019 and were very impressed with everything that was done through the event. When Erin Graf [the art committee chair] contacted me to see if I would participate, I happily agreed to do it. My whole life is connected to the military. My dad and all his brothers were Marines — the older ones served in WWII, and the youngest one was in Vietnam. My husband was in the Navy, and my son is actively serving in the Navy. Many people I knew from high school went into the service. I always had a deep respect for those who serve in our military, and I honor all veterans and their service.
WQW: Can you share a life experience that changed or inspired you?
Terry: I was inspired by both parents. Each of them was very creative, and my mom encouraged me to develop a creative career and supported any direction I took toward that goal.
WQW: The mission of WQW is to be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of post 9/11 combat veterans. In addition to having mentors, you, too, work to help others overcome hurdles and misconceptions. Can you talk more about your efforts to be a mentor?
Terry: I love mentoring other artists and spending time with them to help them learn both the creative side of being an artist as well as the fundamentals of art. I love helping them find out who they are as an artist. I also want them to understand the business side of art, which is crucial for producing income as an artist.
WQW: You write that the southwest holds a special place in your heart but that your Montana home is a gift. What does living in Montana mean to you? How has it inspired you in your life and your work?
Terry: When I started fine art painting, I was still living in Southern California. I was taking a lot of classes alongside my daughter, artist, Whitney Hall (who will also be quick-finishing at Warrior Taste Fest), so my work was influenced by the atmosphere of the California lifestyle, the instructors I studied with, and the artist friends I was surrounded by during those studies. When we moved to Montana, all of that changed. The atmosphere was totally different: The architecture, the wildlife, the casual, laid-back attitudes of the people here, the wide-open spaces, the mountains – everything was different! It inspired me to look at things differently. As we wandered through local galleries and attended shows and events, the artwork inspired a total change in my approach. I wanted to learn how to express those discoveries and my new surroundings in my work.
WQW: You have said that you don't look at your work as a challenge, but rather an opportunity to learn and grow and explore opportunities and solutions. What is integral to you as an artist?
Terry: That my work connects with the viewer and that they understand what I'm expressing through my work as well as the design behind it. I admire many artists and their art, styles, and abilities, but they aren't who I am. I have learned I need to be authentically me.
WQW: What else would you like the audience to know about why you chose to work with Warriors & Quiet Waters and support Warrior Taste Fest?
Terry: As I mentioned above, I have a deep respect for those who have served and would love to honor them in any way I am able. The sale of my piece to contribute toward their needs is something I am thrilled to be able to do!
This blog was written by Marianne Gilman, a WQW Volunteer. Terry Cooke Hall is a 2021 artist participant for Warrior Taste Fest's quick finish. Buy your tickets to Warrior Taste Fest now (while they last) and have the opportunity to bid on Terry's finished piece to take home.