Radford woman started career as dentist, but now spends time creating art

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 5:39 PM EDT
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - Teresa Regil is an artist who discovered her passion for painting almost by accident after years of being a dentist.

“In 2009 I tried to do something to relax and I started drawing and I said “Oh.” I did a portrait of my mom in watercolor and watercolor is so difficult and she looked like my mom. And oh, maybe I can start doing this,” said Regil.

She had a long career as a pediatric dentist for children with special needs in Maryland.

“To me it was just a continuum from dentistry to painting to art,” said Regil.

Regil said she doesn’t see a difference between dentistry and art because either way she’s using her hands.

“I think that had a lot to do with my painting and what I use. I am ambidextrous. Sometimes my right hand – when I was doing root canals and things like that, I’d use my left hand too—the same with painting,” said Regil.

Many of Regil’s paintings are of her family. She’s an abuela or grandmother to many of theses faces.

“They are my life. They are my oxygen,”said Regil.

The museum’s director says Regil is a good example of a local artist who simply wants to share her art. Regil is self-taught, guided by masters such as John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt. She creates her portraits in oil and incorporates a myriad of techniques, including alla prima, indirect approach and mixed media. Often her backgrounds are made with acrylics and the main subject or figure with oil.

“She is not a professional artist, she is self-trained, but she is out there doing her art and wanting her art to be out there for people to see.”

“Some days I say, ‘Why am I painting?’ Cause I have to. I just have to,” said Regil.

Regil is donating one of her paintings for a silent auction to help benefit the Glencoe Museum. The painting is a master copy of a work by her artistic inspiration John Singer Sargent. The piece will be open for bidding until December 4.

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