Terri Sprinkle AKA Terri


Hey everyone!

It's time for our monthly Spotlight for March (which is Women's History Month, by the way). However, now we're doing something a little different for the next few months. We're going to be featuring your beloved moderators! This is so our members can get to know a little about us for a change. I mean, why not?

We begin with our interview with Terri Sprinkle, who you all know and love as "Terri." But she is more than just plain ole Terri; she is a very talented artist and does such a terrific moderating job around here. She picks up all of my slack! We are so grateful to her - to all our moderators. Thank you for indulging us.

So without further ado, here is our interview with Terri:

1. Where are you from and where do you live and work now?

I was born in Illinois: I have very Midwestern US roots. We moved around a lot when I was young, as my father followed his career path in radio and the beginnings of what is now network television broadcasting. My parents both worked in radio and TV after they graduated from college. This was in the early 1950s; a very emergent period in broadcasting. My mother in particular has great stories about being one of very few women employed at a local station. She was a traffic controller – whatever came over the wire as news, it was her job to evaluate it and direct it to the appropriate department.

After moving around a lot, including some time in Atlanta, we eventually settled in Detroit where my father was a local TV news anchor for decades. This gave me a lot of early insight on the value of anonymity – we rarely went anywhere in public where he wasn’t recognized as a local TV personality, and folks thought nothing of approaching a family dinner or our seats at Tiger Stadium for autographs or chat. It’s weird to think back on all that – you tend to accept whatever your childhood circumstances are as “normal.” Passing time gives you the perspective to see that, just maybe, you were a bit of an outlier.

I ultimately moved away from Detroit - in part, to enjoy being anonymous in another state - and lived for the next few decades in Atlanta. When my mom eventually needed to transition to assisted living, I moved back to help with that.

2. How did you begin making art in your life? (Did you study photography in school?) And how old were you?

Funny, there was no art or photography that had my attention as a kid. I did all the usual art classes in school, but there was no particular spark. Where I shined the best was at creative writing. In high school I was active in the drama department as well as choir. I dated musicians, and joined a local theater group after high school and was with them for a few seasons – great fun. But the shadow of my father’s local notoriety was always there, and it wasn’t a hard decision at all to cut loose and move. I had friends who were working as nurses and medical techs, and were advising me of the benefits of the medical field. I took a hard turn away from creative life and ended up in healthcare management for twenty-odd years. I enjoyed interacting with most people and worked with some wonderful physicians.

sunflower lith.jpg

Sunflower (8x10-inch lith print)

3. How did you discover your favorite media to work in? (Specifically, mixing photos with pastels.)

I married a photographer, and he taught me camera basics. It was all analog – film photography – back then. I became interested in alternative photographic techniques in a roundabout way. We did wedding photography as a side hustle for some years: he shot in color and wanted me to get B&W candid shots during the event. It was his idea, as another product, to offer clients hand colored B&W prints and he asked me if I would be interested in learning the art form. I took several classes on hand coloring at a local photography school and was immediately hooked. I started with a set of Marshall’s Photo Oils, but discovered there were so many other mediums that could be used. Oil pencils, wax pencils, pastels, etc. Wedding clients did love them, but we were kept so busy it got to be a bit much. Ultimately, we got out of it – but I was on a new path of discovery.

My husband was a professional aerial and location photographer, and I was relying on him to bring me home rejected B&W prints to practice on. Having discovered the artistic possibilities, it became obvious I needed to learn to shoot and develop myself. We bought an enlarger from a photo lab that was scaling back – film was beginning to be replaced by digital just as I was getting inspired by it – and set up a home darkroom.

But by then, I was also shooting slide film to work with Polaroid prints using the Daylab. There was a time when I’d head out to shoot carrying one camera loaded with B&W film, one loaded with slide film, and maybe one more loaded with infrared film – or, maybe just carrying the Holga. I could swap out lenses and filters as needed. My camera bag was stuffed!

Amelia Island (2).jpg

Amelia Island (8x10-inch silver gelatin print, from Kodak HIE - infrared - negative, hand colored)

4. Is your work planned, or is it emotionally spontaneous?

Both. If we’re traveling someplace I can expect to see certain things, I’ll have a vague plan of what techniques might work. I learned to think of a B&W negative as a starting point. What might look wonderful with color applied for one negative, for instance, would not work for another. Half the fun is bringing the right technique to my images and letting them become fully realized.

Saturday afternoon.jpg

Saturday afternoon (scanned 35mm negative from adapter in Kodak Reflex 20 camera, c. 1959)

5. From where do you draw inspiration?

The planet Earth, and the people and critters that inhabit it.

6. Do you have specific artistic influences? (Can you give us some examples and why?)

All kinds. I love the perfect photography of Sally Mann, the perfect developments of Ansel Adams, the stylized work of Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, as well as the absurdity of Cindy Sherman’s portraits and the huge body of iconic images from great photographers like Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole when thinking of great photographers.

As much as I can babble about great photographers, I am also influenced by artists like Picasso, van Gogh, Chagall, Monet – anyone famous, really, who worked outside of realism. Realism has never interested me in art, or much in photography for that matter. I’m happiest when I can create a work from my negatives that looks manipulated or surreal.

Brad realizes something, cropped.jpg

Brad realizes something (Oil pastel on 9x12-inch Arches oil paper)

7. Can you share your some of your processes (either pastels or mixed media photography?)

It was enlightening to discover so many photographic techniques, simply by following literature that mentioned hand coloring. Most of them can be done starting with a simple silver gelatin print, which I could do at home. I’ve posted some hand coloring here, and also the more involved processes like lith printing, and bromoil - these are development processes that give interesting effects, by using special developers, bleaches, toners, or inks.

I also worked a lot with various Polaroid film while it was still made, doing all manner of Polaroid manipulations. Using a copy stand, I could take a slide picture of a Polaroid print I’d manipulated, and push another process on it. Aside from hand coloring, I probably sold more Polaroid work than anything. The demise of Polaroid was gut wrenching to me.

barflies 2.jpg

Barflies (manipulated Polaroid Time Zero print)

8. Would you describe your current studio or workspace? We want to picture it!

For studio work, I dabble in oil pastels for the most part – I had a cheap set laying around as another medium to use over silver gelatin prints. We ended up living in a house where there was zero place for a darkroom, so I started pawing through all the supplies I’d acquired and realized I could challenge myself trying its more traditional uses. I started sketching and painting with oil pastels and pencils. It’s not my strong suit, though I enjoy it. I copied the artists I liked as a way to teach myself the medium. The oil pastel of Brad is from my own photo reference with an obvious nod to Picasso. Doing things like that is fun. I work at a table easel that sits on the drafting table I use for hand coloring.

The darkroom is still not up yet, but I’m now living in a house where I can build one. It will consist of my Omega Super Chromega D-5 color head enlarger, which can give me prints from 35mm film up to large format. The enlarger is clamped down to a heavy old desk that holds the various tools needed: paper easels, negative carriers and the like. We hang our safelights from towel racks and hooks. A large folding table has been holding developer trays: we’ll be installing a darkroom sink this time: a real luxury!

9. What is your favorite aspect of art? This can be art in general or why you (or anyone) who works at it. Please share your insights. Anything about this is valuable.

The aspect of communication is the most important thing to me. We can feel camaraderie with any artist, living or dead, when we look at their art and get that sense of recognition: your art speaks to me. I like to experience that, and like it when others seem to experience it from my work.

Another aspect is simple approach: I read a lot about loosening up or learning to paint looser, and that remains a challenge. My photography involves chemistry, which demands some precision and control. It’s hard to switch from that mindset to just grabbing a fat Sennelier oil pastel and sweeping with abandon. But I will keep trying!

HIE tree - bromoil resized.jpg

Florida trees (8x10-inch bromoil print from Kodak HIE - infrared - negative)

10. Where on the earth is your utmost favorite place to stay, other than home?

The red rock country of the US western states. When I’m there, I never want to leave.

Lastly, do you have a website, and/or social media platform(s) you would like to promote?

Nope. I had a website some years back but let it go when I lost my darkroom and wasn’t putting anything new out. My social media presence is small, and I prefer it that way.
Well, hello Terri. Nice interview and some lovely works posted. Especially like the sunflower. Though, it's a hard choice because that bar scene is like melting wax. So appealing. You are always full of interesting insights and I would guess your Creative Writing attraction helps with that. Cheers.
Wonderful interview Terri, great to get to know you! All the art you have displayed in this interview is superb. All of them have such appealing effects.
That Florida tree photo… I’ve never seen anything like your Art, and I mean that in a positive manner.. thank you for Moding.. I have leadership positions online, and it is a big commitment! Thankyou!
Thank you so much, AJ - that is a wonderful compliment! ❤️

Moderating here is fun since y'all are what I consider a fun bunch of artistic types. Ayin and Hannah do the real heavy lifting. (Don't tell them I said that!!)
Terri, I was thrilled by your story and your works. Amelia Island is probably my fave, but it was a tough choice. There is so much texture, depth and creativity to each piece. They are all equally impressive. Your creativity has me awestruck, as I never knew one could use the materials you did in such a unique way. Your discussion of film brought back memories of when we hand dipped X-rays we took. (Jerry and I were podiatrists.) The unique smell of the chemicals and stains on my lab coat all came back to me.

Ayin, thank you for the great interview. I look forward to the excellent idea of more moderators telling their story in the coming months.
Joy - thank you so much for the kind words! I do recall you saying you worked as a podiatrist, so I imagine you were familiar with developing the x-rays, and have that working knowledge. :)

I appreciate your words more than I can say. ❤️
I read this early in the month and forgot to come back and comment. Terri, such interesting work. The differences are amazing. I like the bar scene and the Amelia. Mmmm. Thanks for sharing your story with us and all you do here.
Hi Terri, it's fun reading your bio and getting to know you. You have an interesting background. I like the way you experiment with photography. Of these, I especially like the trees. They have a very ethereal quality that almost invites some entity to appear out of the distance :rolleyes:. I also like the painting of Brad's awakening. Thanks for sharing with us.
A fantastic and full life you have lived so far and appreciate your sharing the special moments and wonderful artistic creations with us. Probably the sunflower is my favorite. Thanks!
Hi Terri, it's fun reading your bio and getting to know you. You have an interesting background. I like the way you experiment with photography. Of these, I especially like the trees. They have a very ethereal quality that almost invites some entity to appear out of the distance :rolleyes:. I also like the painting of Brad's awakening. Thanks for sharing with us.
Zen, I wanted to comment about those Florida trees: that bromoil is from an infrared film negative (Kodak HIE), and that gives me a great start to getting that ethereal look you mentioned. You learn to marry certain negatives with certain techniques. :)

Thank you again! ❤️
You learn to marry certain negatives with certain techniques.
Thanks Terri, I'm trying to do something similar with my digital photos in Photoshop, trying different modes, filters, etc. So far nothing I like, but you inspire me to keep at it. (y)
Wonderful interview and it’s great to learn more about you, Terri! You are so creative in your approach to photography and painting and it’s a real pleasure to see these beautiful examples of your work. I love the Three Graces that you recently posted too! (I‘m pecking away with one finger because I had hand surgery otherwise I’d keep going 🙂)