Thelma Triplett painted her first picture decades ago, when she was about 14.
She grew up in a Chicago suburb, and “we lived not far from a forest preserve,” she said.
“I remember going into the preserve, and there was this house or cabin. No one was living in it,” she said.
It was fall, and the leaves had turned colors. It was beautiful, and Triplett was inspired to paint a watercolor.
Now 88, the acclaimed artist paints mostly in oil and mixed media. But she’s still inspired by nature — its colors, its layers.
She’ll display about 15 of her works in a new solo show at the DrewBoy Creative gallery in Richland.
The show, called My Universe, kicks off Sept. 9 with an opening reception. It runs through Oct. 16.
Triplett, of Richland, said she’s looking forward to the exhibition.
Davin Diaz, founder of DrewBoy Creative, is too.
He called Triplett’s work “aesthetically sophisticated” and said he’s honored to work with an artist of her stature.
Triplett has a long résumé. She’s been part of 13 solo or two-artist shows and has won numerous awards for her work.
She has pieces in several corporate and private collections, as well as in publications such as Indianapolis Magazine.
Triplett lived in Columbus, Ind., for years, where she was part of a lively creative community.
When she left for the Tri-Cities in 2000, one local merchant called her “an institution” in the arts scene.
“I thought that was a bit much,” she said with a laugh.
But she’s unquestionably skilled, inspired and talented.
In February, Triplett entered a piece in The RED Show, which was DrewBoy Creative’s inaugural art show, and it took home the People’s Choice prize.
That led to the solo show. My Universe is the name of one of Triplett’s paintings, and, “it made sense to me to call the show that,” she said.
People who peruse the work, including paintings and 3-D pieces, will see variety and progression, she said.
They’ll see her universe as she sees it.
When Triplett is painting and creating, “I feel centered,” she said. “It is total concentration,” with everything else slipping away.
She paints largely abstract pieces, and she works intuitively.
“I paint to music. (The kind) varies — classical, new age, whatever mood I’m in,” she said. “I establish a mood and feeling and then go on from there. Wherever it leads me.”
Some of Triplett’s work is nature-oriented, but she’s long been interested in social justice issues and also makes social and political statements in her art.
For her, art has been a nearly life-long passion. From that house in the forest preserve in the Chicago suburb, to My Universe and more.
She loves it.
“I like design and I like color,” she said. “And I like expressing myself that way.”
The opening reception is at 6 p.m. Sept. 9 at the gallery inside Confluent Space Tri-Cities, 285 Williams Blvd.
Ms. Rhoda’s Wine Garden will serve wine at the event, which is for people 21 and older. Admission is free.
IF YOU GO
What: Artist reception for Thelma Triplett, whose solo show, My Universe, runs Sept. 9 through Oct. 16 at DrewBoy Creative gallery in Richland.
When: From 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 9.
Where: DrewBoy Creative gallery, 285 Williams Blvd., Richland.