Charlotte Terrell’s artistic journey has led her down many paths and too many places. A graduate of the University of Georgia’s landscape design program, her interest in nature began early. After graduation, she made a leap to New York City, where she served as a landscape architect for New York City Department of Parks while continuing her education at Parsons School of Design. “I always had a great love for 19th-century landscapes, like what you would see in England by Capability Brown and, really, Central Park, too, since it was finished in 1850,” she tells us.
Charlotte’s many years of studying and admiring lovely landscapes led her down a road that looked a little different than most landscape architects’. “I supervised construction in NYC, but wasn’t getting my creative needs met,” she explains. So she began doing decorative painting, which was experiencing a revival, in order to meet those creative needs. Charlotte served as an apprentice to Ina Marks of the Isabel O’Neil School of Antique and Art Restoration, learning 19th-century decorative painting from the master finisher.
“People would say, ‘I wish you would put this on canvas!’” And one day, years later when she had moved to Nashville, she finally did just that — for a friend. When Charlotte finished, she called her friend Kris Bennett to come over and make sure it was okay. As soon as she saw it, she told Charlotte that not only was it more than okay but that she was calling her husband Bill of Bennett Galleries right then and there to tell him about it. “Bill Bennett, who will always have my heart for this, came over and said, ‘I think you’ve got something here.’ He put me in a show. Well, my painting was hanging in the bathroom,” Charlotte says with a laugh. “He said, ‘Everyone visits the bathroom so everyone will see it!’ I was thrilled.”
Then, things moved swiftly. At the time, Charlotte was still doing some landscape design and decorative painting in addition to her new fine art venture. She hated to give any of them up as they are all passions, but it was evident she couldn’t sustain them all. “I think it’s lovely and kismet that both paintings and decorative painting have culminated in both the things I love – landscape design and the romantic 19th-century landscape,” she says. “And the fact that the paintings are from my techniques in decorative painting that combine murals and Venetian plaster, it’s the best of both worlds!”
Today, Charlotte Terrell is an established — and adored — fine art painter. Her landscape paintings receive regular acclaim and appear in many notable collections. She has been featured as the Harding Art Show featured artist, shown work all over the South and continues to grow her following. With a unique perspective from her background, Charlotte’s paintings have an ethereal, captivating nature to them. They connect with the viewers in a way that feels special. “It’s an idealized version of a fictional place that I hope will be universally familiar to the viewer. So, someone may look at a painting and say it looks like Center Hill Lake, or another, Long Island Sound,” she says. “I want people to connect it with their own personal experience. I just think that is magical.”
Now, Charlotte adds another talent to her growing list, as she shares her new venture: custom-painted, muraled wallpaper. Barbara Rushton, of Dimensional Spaces in Nashville, contacted Charlotte with a client project in mind. Typically hesitant to take on a project like this, Charlotte shares, “Because of her and the clients’ willingness to allow me to experiment and research and try things, I was able to produce the muraled wallpaper.” The result, as you can see, is simply stunning.
The process is intensive. For this project, Charlotte created a painting for each wall taking into account windows, furniture and even light switches, making it highly customized. Each painting was one-third of the wall size, and when it was printed on wallpaper, it was blown up to fit the wall exactly. “I had to hold my breath until the paper was actually up,” Charlotte says. “Months of research, months of painting … I was holding my breath hoping it would work. I was amazed that every corner matched and flowed.”
Once the wallpaper was installed, Charlotte went in to add special adjustments and touches by hand and then, of course, signed her work.
In the end, the homeowners not only ended up with a room so beautifully outfitted it hardly needs furniture, but they also have the painting from which the wallpaper was created. The painting hangs elsewhere in the house, and this specific wallpaper will never be reprinted. “It was the dream client for the first process,” Charlotte shares. “They wanted me to take artistic license, but they also loved the process. And the same with the designer — it’s her brainchild, and it would not have happened without Barbara Rushton. I am so grateful.”
Charlotte reflects on times when she looked around and wondered what she was doing bouncing from one thing to the next. She says, “I see now that it was all very important. It all culminated in this.” From landscape architecture to decorative painting to fine art to something that reflects all three quite beautifully, it’s no doubt there was a real purpose in each stage.
She gratefully shares, “It was a surreal experience to close the doors and be surrounded by a Charlotte Terrell painting. Absolutely surreal.”
For more information about Charlotte Terrell’s work, as well as places across the South where you can find her art, visit her website here. And for more details on custom wall coverings, click here. Special thanks to the lovely Caroline Sharpnack for capturing this creation!