Though Tess Donohoe calls Portland home she was born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark. Even now, she returns every summer to spend time at her family’s house in the woods in Sweden, far away from the world and close to nature. “For me art is a way to slow down time by observing things we otherwise take for granted or pass by. As someone who moved away from their home country and had to learn a new culture and language, I feel like art gives me freedom to communicate in a way that doesn’t require specific words or cultural knowledge. It’s a way for me to record and interpret the world around me.
“I have always been painting and drawing. I studied art in High School in Denmark and continued to draw and paint from life at City College of San Francisco. I attended Art Center College of Design where I focused on design and illustration. Since then I have been learning on my own and have continued to study with other artists. I love to travel for art workshops and painting trips.” She also runs a creative studio called Dean Donohoe that focuses on conceptual design, creative strategy, and branding.
She paints as much as she can from life. “I try to learn from nature and observational drawing and painting. I bring my paints with me whenever I can. I recently went to Joshua Tree to paint with a group of artists and it was very inspirational to paint the unique landscape of the area and spend so much time just observing nature. I also painted at night during the full moon, which made me realize how many other senses are involved in painting. That’s what I love about plein air painting, it’s really about observing nature closely and not just painting what you think you see. To capture a mood you have to observe, listen, and even smell the world around you.”