The Arts Directory Of Transylvania County, NC

The Arts Directory Of Transylvania County, NC

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Tenesha Abernethy


Fine Arts and Crafts


Painting, Other


Art to me is a way of life and a journey allowing us to explore where we come from and where others come from as well. I enjoy painting portraits, landscapes, seascapes, and still life objects. I also enjoy exploring and mixing different media.

Artist Philosophy / Bio

I have been drawing since I was 5 years old. I can remember being in my bedroom as a little girl and drawing people, families, homes, and neighborhoods for hours on end and loving it emeansly.
In grade school, my favorite classes were my art classes and the only clubs I really ever wanted to be involved in were always art related. After high school, I studied at Sampson Community College and took art classes there. My instructor encouraged me to pursue a career as an artist, but I chose special education as my career path. Then, I went to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, to study to become a special education teacher. There I decided to concentrate in art. Unfortunately, I did not have as many good experiences and can remember one professor telling me, in front of other art students, that my art was not good at all. I was crushed to say the least. After graduating with a degree in special education, I focused on my teaching career and stopped painting.
My art was dormant for 15 years.
Then, I met my husband. There was a new joy and love that made me feel I was good at anything I set my mind to. My husband (then boyfriend) encouraged me to draw again and to paint again. One day I picked up a sharpie and drew a face on the walls of his man cave. I kept drawing all over the walls and painting murals. Finally..Freedom! Freedom to be that 5 year old girl again!

Inspired by an Astrid-S album cover
Suddenly, an Awakening happened. I saw her, an image on an album cover that moved me. I felt motivated to attempt to paint her. This would be my first portrait ever to be completed without the help of my art teachers. I felt as if my soul had awakened after a long sleep. I was surprised and over the moon with joy when the piece was completed. I was then hooked and wanted to paint more portraits.
So, I asked my cousins, Idalis and Daniel, if I could paint them in their native regalias.
Idalis Coharie Princess
Daniel Head Male Dancer (Waccamaw Siouan Tribe)
As I painted them and listened to music, I felt my soul sing, my body move to the music, and God guiding my brush strokes in a way I have never felt before.
Meanwhile, Eagle Feathers became a symbol that I returned to over and over again. Creating eagle feathers on canvas, paper, with sharpies, and with acrylic. In the Native American culture, the eagle feather is considered an honorable gift from the creator. The eagle feather is the most sacred of feathers and is worn with our regalias and passed on to us from relatives and loved ones to show honor, love, and respect for the person that is receiving the eagle feather.

Our Tribe Project evolved from the birth of my son and the fact that it does take a village to raise a child. Then I thought, we should be one village with one concept and that is to love our children and to love the women that raise them.
This project, I believe, is a God-led project. Meaning I know without a doubt that God has blessed me with this gift to paint and to use it as a tool to reach others and to touch lives in a positive way. The goal of Our Tribe Project is to create commissioned pieces and donate 10% of the proceeds to help women and children that are facing poverty around the world. I want to be a part of what makes this world better and I also want to help mothers feed, clothe, and shelter their children. My long range goal is to one day be in a position to offer financial assistance for women and children to pursue their hopes and dreams of obtaining a college education.

If you are interested in contacting me for commissioned work, I can be reached by email at:

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