Sonya Terpening never made a great decision to become an artist; she always knew that is what she wanted to be. Though she received an art degree from Oklahoma State University, her advanced studies came from knowing and painting with such great American artists as Bettina Steinke, Donald Teague, and Lowell Ellsworth Smith.
Terpening’s art is about sharing the great and fascinating world around her. “When something moves me, be it a story or a scene, I want to express it in color and light so that the viewer can share the feeling,” she said. She is drawn to the American West not only as it exists today, but also its history. “There is something about the past that we all share that makes us better for remembering it.”
Terpening has been a Prix de West artist for 24 years and has participated in the Masters of the American West at the Autry Museum for 12 years. In 2008 Terpening received the Autry Museum Award for Watercolor. She was selected as NBC Oklahoma’s “Oklahoma Artist” for 2017. In 2010 and 2013, she was the recipient of the Smelser-Vallion Visiting Artist Award from the Oklahoma State University Doel Reed Center for the Arts, and she was a featured artist at the 2006 Rendezvous at the Gilcrease Museum. Articles about Terpening’s art have been featured in Art of the West, Western Art Collector, and Southwest Art magazines.