May 11, 2005 - (Warsaw, IN 4/25/05)


By Eric Olsen

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 1, 2010 at 6:55 PM EDT

We're heading out to 21Country now to meet a man who has it all.
And he doesn't seem to mind sharing it.

We recently visited the newly restored Doctor James Ford home in Wabash, Indiana...the house the good doctor, an early Wabash pioneer, built, lived in and practiced medicine in during much of the 19th Century.

The home is now a museum, and gracing a wall in the upstairs hallway we found this treasure…a watercolor portrait of the Ford home painted, it turns out, by a very talented 21County artist.

Artist Terry Armstrong says, “I'm happier now with what I do than I've ever been. I'm confident I can paint about anything at this point.”

Confident, prolific and gifted, Warsaw painter Terry Armstrong sees just about everything on this green earth as worthy of artistic attention.

Armstrong says, “A lot of artists get into a theme where they only paint flowers, they only paint this or that. I haven't found that certain subject and just go crazy over.”

As a result, you might see a fine Armstrong watercolor of a farmstead in winter...or a nest or robin’s eggs warming in the spring sunshine...or the sweet, ever-so-slightly defiant face of a pretty young girl.

Terry Armstrong’s medium is watercolor, but his subject matter is life in all its forms.

He is equally at home celebrating the beauty of bark on a dead tree, or the fiery countenance of a fearsome jack-o-lantern.

Armstrong was born in Fort Wayne and grew up in Columbia City...got his art education at the old Fort Wayne Art School before it became part of IPFW.

He settled on watercolor as his medium because, he says, the artist can only nudge watercolor paint in the direction he'd like it to go, and just hope it gets close.

Armstrong says, “You start out not knowing exactly what you're going to end up with. Once it's down, it's hard to pull it back up. Usually mistakes are good because usually something good turns out of that. I guess that's more the unplanned part.”

If it is, its one of the few unplanned parts of Armstrong’s life in art.

His work is popular and sells very well...an art world rarity.

And he manages to fill dozens of commissions each year while juggling a full-time job, a family, and the countless art fairs and art shows and exhibitions a working artist must attend if he or she wishes to be noticed.

But it's a life that satisfies a powerful creative instinct...one Terry Armstrong says he would have to address with or without his beloved watercolors.

Armstrong says, “I think it would be…there'd be some kind of creative whether it'd be painting, even talking to my wife about cooking. I mean, there'd be some kind of creative avenue I'd take if it weren't for painting.”

But his chosen creative avenue is painting, and all of 21Country is very lucky for it.

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