For Kingston Springs artist Teresa Townsend Hargis, life is a celebration of blessing, challenge, connection, hope and love.
One of her more recent creations reflects the colors and textures of Main Street in Kingston Springs and was inspired by a walk with her husband of almost 50 years, city commissioner Michael Hargis.
“The sun was hitting the church at the perfect angle,” said the art impressionist painter. “The redbud tree in front of the library was this profusion of color. I came home that afternoon to start painting.”
The colorful piece displays a view of downtown Kingston Springs from the old Beard’s grocery store (the town’s general store for decades), which is positioned at the three-way stop coming into downtown across from the Church of Christ.
“I revisited the site several times, but ideally it would have been hard to set up there because the best position would have to be in middle of the road,” she said.
Hargis does most of her painting from her home in The Bluffs of Harpeth in Kingston Springs, a place that she said inspires her with its panoramic view that includes the Harpeth River, Burns Park, Pinnacle Hill and church steeples in downtown Kingston Springs. She and her husband have lived in Texas, Kentucky and Georgia.
“We purchased the land 10 years ago,” she said. “It was mostly a thick forest that my brother-in-law Glen cleared.”
Glen Finch, 67, passed away in 2017 from cancer. He was the husband of longtime city recorder Debbie Finch, Teresa’s sister.
“Glen provides the vision,” she said. “We’ve been in this house eight years now. All of the work in this house has engaged local artisans. Pioneer Logs did all of the beams. Scott Construction did the roofing, the pavilion, stonework. The molding and inside woodwork were done by Jeff Garrison. Vayden Northcutt and Sarah Northcutt of Northcutt Homes are a part of this house which in many ways is a living piece of art. It’s magical and good for the senses.”
Hargis’ home is accented with a variety of artful colors and textures displayed on canvas, not only her works but also the work of those she admires. She said that the art she buys must tell a story, adding that her pieces must be story driven to inspire and engage others.
The back view from the house overlooks 30 acres of grassland and woods that includes a bend in the Harpeth River
“It’s a bit like the movie ‘Brigadoon’ when the mist clears and you see a tiny village that appears every hundred years,” she said. “But here, you see the beauty of Kingston Springs every day.”
Enjoying Hargis’ art
Among her mentors is Calvin Liang, who served as animator for “Little Mermaid” and “SpongeBob SquarePants,” and is a Lifetime Achievement recipient from the Oil Painters of America.
“I think Teresa is a very good artist,” Liang said. “As I know, her works have very strong lines, colors, values, shapes, textures and movement. I like the way she paints with the ideas and feelings instead of showing the exact appearance of people or things. And she does the paintings in a way that shows skill and imagination and looks beautiful.”
Another mentor, Roger Dale Brown, is a celebrated artist who is based in Franklin.
"I have known Teresa for years and have watched her developed into an awesome artist” Brown said. “She has grown technically with her drawing, design and color sensibility, but the most important developments I see is the poetic, and spiritual quality of her work. You can feel the essence of the day in her paintings. God has truly blessed her with this gift of art.”
Hargis said her favorite place for displaying her art is the annual Art in the Park event that is held in Kingston Springs at Burns Park in October. She has received many awards at the event.
“The greatest compliment is that art has touched you on an emotional level,” she said. “My objective with my art is to tell a story. I want to bring you into the painting so you can experience the emotion I have when I am painting.”
Debbie Finch is one of her sister’s loyal fans.
“My sister is very devoted to her art,” Finch said. “She loves painting and spends hours on top of hours doing so. She is always going to workshops and traveling to take lessons to add to her incredible talent. Teresa is a very loving and giving person and has blessed me and other members of our family, her friends and church with her art. She’s going to be famous one of these days.”
Kingston Springs Mayor Tony Gross is another enthusiastic fan of Hargis’ art.
“Teresa is a Kingston Springs treasure,” Gross said. “Her passion for painting is an inspiration to all that encounter her. Many of her paintings depict scenes from our beautiful town. Her paintings of buildings are my favorite. She is able to capture the character of the places she paints. As a side note, I was telling Joy (his wife) just yesterday that I would love for Teresa to paint our historic Kingston Springs home one day.”
Hargis gives credit to her faith and family for helping to frame and focus her artistic gift. Part of that she said is her “amazing artist” mother, Kingston Springs resident Mary Townsend, 87.
The Cheatham County Central High School graduate —she was a cheerleader, Homecoming queen and a sweetheart for the basketball team there — said that she started painting in 1996, and her passion for bringing art to life has grown.
“When I get up in the morning, I can’t wait to get to the canvas,” she said. “For my husband, it’s the golf course. For me, painting is the last thing to think about before falling to sleep.”
For information about Teresa Hargis’ artwork, including how to obtain a print of “Main Street Kingston Springs”, email her at Shewearsachapeau@aol.com or message her via her Facebook page.