The evocative landscapes of Dale Terbush


Let Me Take You There, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″

Dale Terbush is nothing if not passionate—about life and the world from which he gains inspiration. Terbush’s magnificent landscapes, skyscapes and scenes infused with dramatic expressions of water draw the observer to ethereal heights and toward the tender flow of a stream. Others will find themselves happily lost in mountain scenery. Terbush believes in trusting your gut. “Art needs to talk to you,” he says. “You’ll know it’s the right piece if it takes you to another place and your emotions go along for the ride.”

Though many characteristics of Terbush’s work pay homage to the Hudson River School, his style is wholly his own. While Terbush employs similar natural settings, he adds layers of vibrant color that are like a revelation. Pastoral subjects akin to well-loved melodies are reorchestrated, bringing age-old sentiments into the present with contemporary flourishes and intense color.

Terbush’s medium of choice is acrylics, which suit his style perfectly. Spontaneity is critical to his process, and with acrylics there is not the complication of the prolonged drying process inherent with oils. He can grab a canvas and immediately set to work, laying out beautiful colors in inspired strokes, imagery flowing directly through his hand, unobstructed. Terbush has some eccentricities of technique that define his style, namely that he works horizontally versus on an easel. Working quickly and intuitively, he creates many layers, the colors and imagery revealing themselves in the process. Sometimes, one subject might overtake another, resulting, for instance, in an atmospheric effect erasing a carefully crafted detail. But no matter, it is a necessary turn of trajectory. Terbush’s process is like jazz improvisation; he is not quite sure what will transpire until it reveals itself on the canvas, at which point whatever gesture is laid down informs the next.

Of his style, Terbush says: “I am a romantic landscape painter at heart. While my paintings express realism, they go well beyond what one might actually see in the setting. I create the emotion a person feels when they are in a place, the feeling they carry away.” Though Terbush frequents beautiful natural settings to collect inspiration, he never paints en plein air nor from photographs. He carries images in his head, where they become infused with memories and sensory impressions, the resultant conceptualization uniting the artist and the scenic elements—a powerful convergence.

Like a Fire From Your Heart, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 36″

Happily, Terbush now paints exclusively, a luxury that has come about as a result of his intense commitment to his craft. Terbush paints daily in his studio in the scenic Camelback Mountain area of Phoenix, Arizona, an ample space he has carved out in one of his two homes in the region. His studio is a place where he can spread out and focus on his work, and stash his many art supplies, framing equipment and vast inventory of paintings. Terbush’s studio is also his place to meet up with friends and customers. “I need to be around people. I enjoy connecting with all sorts of people, and these interactions very much influence my work,” he says.

Collectors of Terbush’s paintings are those who connect with him on a spiritual level and for whom his paintings provide an emotional journey. His most avid collectors are known to have 30 or more of his works, while others collect in the eight to 12 painting range. Each painting evokes a unique emotion, and art aficionados find new purchases invariably freshen their collection rather than resulting in redundancy. Among his hundreds of clientele are celebrities Eva Longoria, James Redfield, Reba McEntire, Terrence Howard, and numerous international heads of state. Terbush’s works break gallery records wherever he is represented, and shows in Japan have resulted in sell-outs even before opening.

Dale Terbush

To those who would buy his works, Terbush says: “Painting is an emotional journey. Part of the artwork is the artist, part the subject being captured, and part is the connection created with those who would view the work. This combination of factors makes the painting come alive.” Terbush encourages customers to trust their instincts. He feels strongly that the painting selected should be “the one that speaks to you.” Buyers will find they have a “chemistry” with particular works—and those are the ones that will provide the most pleasure in their home.

For those wishing to learn more about Terbush’s style and process, look no further than the January 2024 issue of the American Art Collector, where one of his paintings is featured on the cover. Also intriguing is Michael Clawson’s interview with Terbush on Episode 152 (January 2023) of the American Art Collective podcast.

The Angel of Tower Falls, acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 24″

Galleries currently representing Terbush’s works include Horizon Fine Art in Jackson, Wyoming; Legacy Gallery and Manitou Galleries in Santa Fe; Mainview Galley in Scottsdale and Exposures International Gallery in Sedona, Arizona; Mason Fine Art in Atlanta; and Texas Treasures Fine Art in Boerne, Texas. Paintings and limited edition prints are also available directly from the artist on his website. Terbush works as a “regional” painter for the galleries that represent him, capturing the scenery local to each area, including South Carolina’s Lowcountry. And framing is determined at the point of purchase so that the style is in sync with each customer’s home interior.

In closing, and regarding all things, Terbush would leave readers with these words of wisdom: “Let the universe work through you—entering the eyes, then landing in your heart.” *

Christina Andrews is a freelance writer from the Napa Valley who specializes in personal and business bios, food and wine, visual arts, music, hospitality, the event industry, community interest stories, obituaries and political satire.

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