14 Teresa Oaxaca


Teresa Oaxaca is a phenomenal painter, living and working in Washington DC. She has exhibited internationally. Teresa is a member and faculty of the Portrait Society of America, the Art's Club of Washington, the California Arts Club, the National Art Education Association, and the Young Partners Circle of The National Museum of Women In The Arts. She is also an ambassador for the Da Vinci Initiative, to create and promote lessons in art education. Teresa has won many awards, including best of show at the Art League Gallery and in the Arts Club of Washington. She won 1st and 2nd place (twice) in the Portrait Society of America's competitions, and 2nd place and two Chairman's Choice awards from the Art Renewal Center (ARC), which also awarded her 'Best Social Commentary'. She won numerous scholarships: two from the ARC, two Elizabeth Greenshields Awards, a Posey Foundation Scholarship and a Stacey Scholarship from the American Museum of the Cowboy.

'The Journey of Life' a self-portrait

Teresa is a visiting instructor at the Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia, the Princeton Academy of art in New Jersey, the Florence Studio in Italy, the Cwmdu School in Wales, the Kline Academy of Art in Los Angeles, and many other schools. She also offers online classes in painting and paint making. Teresa says on her website that she is currently accepting portrait commissions, although she's also now working on a series of 'quarantine paintings'. She has also started her own fashion brand, showcasing her own designs of scarves and leggings.

'Girl in Pink' a self-portrait

Teresa was born... somewhere in America. It's hard to find details about her life, as she says in this interview with Deanna Selene (Combustus, no date), "I am very open about displaying my work and providing details about it but I keep the private life separate. I suppose painting in itself is quite autobiographical."

Teresa tells Selene a bit about her childhood:

"I have found that a lot of the old things that used to make me happy are still the same. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my sister, or, before she was born, just alone, making things out of clay and playing with them. Later we would stage more elaborate games, still taking place mainly in the imagination, as children’s fantasies do. I remember spending hours setting up whole worlds and trying to get them just right before anything else could begin. This is a lot like setting up a scene to paint, if you think about it."

'Black Pierrot'

Teresa studied at the Angel Academy of Art in Florence Italy. She then went on to study at the Florence Academy where she won Best Drawing of the Year, and then had an apprenticeship with Odd Nerdrum in Norway. She next studied under Robert Liberace and Paul Lucchesi at the Art League of Alexandria, in Virginia. 


Teresa talks about her work on her website:

"My work is about pleasing the eye. I paint light and the way it falls. Simple observation reveals beauty; often it is found in the unconventional. Because of this I have learned to take particular delight in unusual pairings of subject matter. Frequently my compositions are spontaneous. When a person comes to me, they occupy a space in my mind. Arrangements form from there until with excitement I see and have the idea. The design is both planned and subconscious. For this reason I surround myself with Victorian and Baroque costume, bones, and other things which I find fascinating- I want subject matter to always be at hand."


"My paintings are created with oil paint on canvas. I am conscious of the traditional craftsmanship I have attained in Florence. While my interest in new pigments and tools may cause minor alterations in my materials, these really remain fundamentally the same. All my evolution is taking place on the canvas and in my head; in what I see in nature and interpret in two dimensions on the picture plane. I have the fundamentals of design to work with when planning a painting. I make preparatory studies. I use multiple layers to build an illusion of light and form. When this illusion is convincing and to my taste, the painting is done."

'Roaring King no. 2'

Teresa talks about her strongest influences with Selene:

"The Baroque and Rococo, Gustav Klimt, the Old Masters and ornamental design from many different periods of history.  One can draw from so much. Paintings used to be set in lush settings such as cathedrals and palaces. They were designed to fit with other art forms such as elaborate wood carved frames and sculpture. Even if we cannot necessarily have such rich backgrounds now, I would still like to provide a sense of that experience."

'Somnambulant Clown no. 3'

Costumes play a large role in Teresa's work. She tells Selene:

"I think the art experience can be like a symphony with all sections supporting the whole. I am also a bit of a designer and arranger of things. I like finding satisfying interplays between color and form. Clothing has so much potential ~ both texturally and as a bolster to the wearer’s persona. Many great portrait painters such as John Singer Sargent and Peter Paul Rubens knew this and they weren’t exactly painting the clothing of their time either.  Not many people know this.

"I will say I miss the days of individually tailored clothing. Stylistically, I find much of the modern made-to-wear garment industry a nightmare. Both for the exploited workers who slave away to produce it, as well as from the standpoint of a portrait painter. There is nothing beautiful about it. Instead, I like to see some evidence of design and the uniqueness of culture."



'Standing Clown'



'Blue Self', a self portrait

'Court Fools'

'Blue & Gold'

'Late Hour'


'Father Time'

'Cronin Children'