Eryn Tehan - Paintings and Art
Eryn Tehan

Eryn Tehan

Portland, OR

"Impressionist impasto oil painter with a passion for color!"
Hi! I'm Eryn. Portland grown artist. Curious explorer, since age 3. Sunset Chaser. Backpacker. Painter. Color Enthusiast.

My journey to becoming an artist:
My family and I moved here from St. Louis when I was three years old, and I quickly became an adventurer. We regularly went hiking and to the Oregon coast, where I would always find joy in new little things. I was amazed at such small details, like how the light hit a grain of sand. Soon, the ocean and the mountains found their way into my heart and called to me. As I grew, those calls began to fade. I became serious about school and spent every waking hour on my studies and related events.
During school, I relished my art class and art teacher. It was the refuge I craved after mathematics, history, and other courses that drained me. I was fortunate to have the art teacher I had. She taught me so much about art and artists. My favorite subject was the impressionists, and I quickly became obsessed with how they used color and loose brush strokes. In that class, I learned that I was a gifted artist, but never considered it a career. Perhaps a lesson I learned from the Game of Life, that an artist's wage is not livable, and you cannot win the game if you choose that profession.
While I was in the second grade, all students received free eye exams. Accompanied by my mother during the exam, the doctor read us my results and calmly explained that I do not see like everyone else, that I have 20/15 vision and high sensitivity to light, color, and contrast. It was the reason the fluorescent lights in the classroom irritated my eyes, and why the green chalkboards seemed unbearably bright. I didn't realize what this meant until I became an artist, and I now understand how fortunate I am.

The years stacked on top of each other rapidly, and the priorities, with them. As I got used to new responsibilities, I stopped traveling and experiencing nature. I moved away to school and graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's in Journalism. Though I began painting when I was little, I didn't study art seriously in college. I never thought of it as an option. I taught myself to paint throughout serendipitous events that led me to where I am today. When I began painting, I was 24 and a fresh graduate. We had just moved to Seattle for my partner's new job. Unable to find a career job there, I worked minimum wage at a small frozen yogurt shop. And yes! We got free fro-yo! Despite the free fro-yo, like many others, I was struggling. In a new place, I only had my partner to get me through.

One day, I came home from work to a large canvas, a palette knife, paintbrushes, and acrylic paints sitting in our living room. He had somehow sensed my hurt, drive and need to paint, and surprised me with them. I struggled with acrylics but had so much fun, just painting. But it wasn't something I thought could be a career. A year later, my father found old oil paints at a random garage sale in Florida. He bought them on a whim and sent them to me. When I got them, I tore into them. The paints were old and separating, but I loved the smell. The oils smelled like the earth, familiar, comforting, and beautiful. My brushes were useless against the state they were in, and instead, I began layering them with a palette knife. I knew my dad loved red wine, and I thanked him by creating a palette knife wine glass with the paints he sent. It was my first oil painting in impasto. Fast forward a few months, and I was already creating a brand for myself. I launched myself at oils with a passion I had never felt before. Art had found me, and lifted me to a place I never imagined I'd be. I am grateful every day for the journey it has taken me on.

After becoming a painter, I started noticing lush details about the world. It was like opening my eyes again. My spirit was reborn. My sense of adventure rekindled. I began to re-challenge myself. I began to live again. I started backpacking and Plein air painting, both joys that now run deep in my soul. My connection to the natural world, passion for exploration deepens every day and inspires every piece I create.

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