The whimsical style of Teena Wood's art is strongly influenced
by years of studying and drawing cartoons. She even created her
own comic strip, The Adventures of Mz. Mouse.
"Mz. Mouse lacked self confidence, but was
into personal growth and always wanted to improve herself and
find her inner beauty," Teena said. "She was my alter
Teena marketed the strip and was published in various
publications throughout Oregon, and one national magazine, Twinsworld.
Locally, it was published for two years in The Woman's Journal.
"I also created Amelia Chairheart, Mz. Mouse's
best friend," she said. "Amelia was in a wheelchair,
was a playwrite and had her own dance studio. She was an inspirational
There were also the twins, Teena and Deena, nieces
of Mz. Mouse.
Teena is a twin, too, but her twin lived only three
"Being a twinless twin has affected me my whole
life," she said. "I believe she would be a writer if
she had lived. Studies show that twins in general are very creative
people. I invented the twin characters to heal my own wounds from
losing my twin at birth."
Teena's hope is to eventually write a children's
book using these cartoon characters.
Ideas and inspiration come to Teena from many sources: something
she sees, what someone says, or even a picture she wakes up with
in her head.
"When I painted 'The Cat Lover,' I kept seeing
a picture of a purple cat leaning sideways," she said. "So
I sat at my easel and painted that purple cat. Then I added another
and another and another and, before I knew it, I had all these
Teena works mostly with pastels for the richness
and texture they create.
"I often draw on black paper, which gives more
intensity to the pastel colors," she said.
"Just recently I started drawing on Wallis
sandpaper, which creates even more texture and really holds the
pastel in many layers."
Two of Teena's favorite artists are Peter Max and Grandma Moses.
"I love Peter Max's wild and free style; he
uses color with complete freedom," she said. "Grandma
Moses' scenes are primitive yet create a story of simplicity and
Teena sees herself as a combination of the two
feeling a connection of their styles in her work.
"I also love Thomas Knight and his living-room
scenes with the open windows looking out on water," she said.
This month, Teena's art is showing in Portland at
the Starbucks on Northwest Eleventh and Glisan in the Pearl District,
and at the new Healthy Pets store on Northeast Alberta.
"It's a pet store with an artist gallery attached,"
she said. "I'll be their featured artist for the month and
I'll be there in person Jan. 27 from 6-9 p.m."
Whether drawing, doodling or creating, art has always seemed as
natural as breathing to Teena.
"I've been doing some form of art for as long
as I can remember," she said. "As a kid, I often spent
hours and hours drawing in my room.
"I always excelled in art class. It seemed
I just knew how to draw and be creative. I didn't really think
Teena remembers drawing lots of pictures of houses,
which are now a common theme in her paintings. She loved coloring
books and had a knack for color coordinating. When she didn't
have a pencil or crayon in hand, Teena was reading Scrooge McDuck,
Dot, Little Lotta and Mickey Mouse comic books.
"I knew I had found something that made my
heart dance, hours fly like seconds, and allowed me to express
myself in magical ways beyond words," she said. "And
I knew then that this was somehow going to be an important part
of my life."
Teena's parents were artistic in their own way and
her sisters are both creative.
Her mother was a stylish dresser with never a hair
out of place and knew how to use color and design in decorating
their home. Her father was a carpenter and built one of their
houses. He also created a mountain-goat statue that was designed
after the Great Northern Railway goat. He sold and marketed the
goats all over the country several are in a museum in Montana.
Best Things in Life are Free"
"Both of my sisters are very artistic, too,"
she said. "Carolyn makes beautiful quilts and afghans. Maggie
manages the gift shop of a resort in Temecula, Calif., that she
and her husband run. At one time, she owned her own yarn store
in Seattle called Old Mother Hubbards."
Teena was studying interior design and fine art at the University
of Washington in Seattle when her life took a turn and she changed
"Instead of finishing my degree in art, I got
my B.A. in communications from Marylhurst University in Portland,"
she said. "I then worked many years for two major health
organizations, all the while continuing to do art, but more as
"I never felt I had the confidence in myself
to really pursue my art studies until now."
Teena has taken art classes over the years, but
has mostly done her own thing and experimented with different
tools and media until coming up with what she does now.
Her many detours and years of working at "respectable"
jobs have only led Teena back to what she originally knew to be
true she must express herself through some form of art.
"I enjoy creating art that makes me feel good
and I love to see other people enjoying it," she said.
"My wish is that somehow my art will give people
a feeling of hope or that it somehow touches their heart."
The name Follow
Your Heart Artworks comes from Teena's desire to have her
paintings reflect joy, peace, comfort and healing.
"The world needs a lot more of these,"
she said, "and if I can add a little joy through my art,
then that's great!"
Teena's vision is to have shows throughout the country
and to market her art as note cards.
"I've finally come to a place where I'm doing
what I really love to do," she said. "What else can
I ask for?"