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History Journalling

"Sophisticated Whimsy" is often used to describe work by artist, Tera Leigh, but it could be used to describe her approach to life as well. At age 37, Leigh (pronounced Lee - Leigh is Tera's last name.) has created a life that is uniquely her own.

Less than ten years ago, Tera was working as an attorney in a California Law Firm. When her then-fiance, Ken Mugrage, asked her to start a new business with him, she saw it as an opportunity to get out of the 8 - 8 office grind and get back to her creative and business roots.

When Ken's skill outgrew the opportunities of their small business, Tera saw her opportunity to become a full-time artist. With Ken's support (yes, they are still married!), Tera Leigh Designs was born. Today, the company produces books, licensed products, limited edition hand painted designs, and seminars on creativity for audiences around the world.

Crediting her mother, Marie Gemmil, for getting her interested in painting, Tera did not consider herself "artistic" as a child. Indeed, she did not have a single "art" class in school. Tera says that she did "play around with painting and drawing on my own, but I didn't know anyone who knew how to paint, so my efforts didn't go very far." Mostly, she says, "I was considered creative, and perhaps a bit eccentric, by most people - but I don't think anyone thought I would take the route I have gone. The best gift my parents gave me was the belief that I could accomplish anything if I was willing to work hard enough."

All that changed in 1993 when she took a decorative painting course. "I had an immediate sense or recognition with painting. Something in my head just "clicked" and I knew I could do this." With characteristic tenacity, Tera set out to learn everything she could about painting. Several years later that knowledge helped her learn Photoshop and other computer graphics programs while working with her husband, and she hasn't stopped since. .

Tera has become known for her whimsical, yet practical, approach to creativity and art. From her studio at "Haunted Cottage" in Lafayette, California, she creates original designs, writes books, and articles about creativity and art. In addition to her work with Tera Leigh Designs, she writes columns for PaintWorks, and Decorative Artist Workbook magazines (watch for new columns for ToleWorld and Quick & Easy Painting premiering in 2002!), and has written articles for publications such as Craftrends, Loew-Cornell's Teacher's Spectrum, Artist's Magazine Sketchbook, and The Decorative Painter.