Telka Beal, a native of New York City, New York, died Wednesday,
January 19, 2005, at her home in Rockport, Massachusetts, at the age of
By the time she was 22, Telka Ackley Beal had enjoyed the kind of
career most artists only dream of. At a time when most are embarking on
a career, she had illustrated a half-dozen books, won a gold medal for
her paintings, and earned induction into the American Watercolor
Mrs. Beal was born with a gift for the arts, combining the talents of
her mother, the author of books detailing the construction of original
dolls and marionettes, and her father, who made custom jewelry, her
daughter, Edith Beal Tuttle, said yesterday.
Mrs. Beal studied at the Art Students League under Jerry Farnsworth and
her stepfather, Stow Wengenroth. As a young woman, she spent summers at
a family cottage in Maine with her mother and stepfather in the same
neighborhood as painter Andrew Wyeth and his wife.
When the Allied Artists awarded Mrs. Beal a gold medal for her
watercolors, she was presenting her work at one-woman shows in
galleries in New York City and Boston, Tuttle said.
The artist married William Reynolds Beal in 1942 and had three
children. Mrs. Beal continued to paint while rearing her family. Her
daughter remembered her mother painting often during her childhood, but
also described Mrs. Beal as a lover of camping, gardening, and spending
summers on the coast of Maine.
When the family moved to Rockport in 1968, Mrs. Beal was able to devote
more time to painting. Her still life of a snowy owl won her induction
into the Rockport Art Association in 1970. Though she continued to
paint still lifes, her daughter said, the move to Rockport allowed her
to paint a greater variety of subjects.
Mrs. Beal worked until the late 1970s, when poor health made painting
difficult. Unable to work, she spent more time with her family and
friends. Her daughter described her love of nature and beauty, combined
with a wonderful sense of humor and a "delightful perspective on life."
Mrs. Beal's passions and talents were not confined to the art world.
She and her husband, a fellow artist who died in 1995, were members of
the Rockport Art Association, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, and the
Sandy Bay Yacht Club. Mrs. Beal was a gifted seamstress, having worked
as an apprentice to a dress designer before she began painting. She
also created Christmas cards.
Her watercolors, which mostly depict her mother's dolls, still attract
collectors -- perhaps, her son-in-law Peter Tuttle wrote in the
Gloucester Times, because they closely reflect Mrs. Beal's bond with
her mother, giving the paintings "an emotional tension and weight that
makes them memorable."
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Beal leaves another daughter,
Jennifer Beal Ober of Rockport; and a granddaughter, Helen Esther Beal.