A native of the Horicon Marsh area of Wisconsin, Terrill grew up in an area rich in wetlands and natural areas. He was attracted to the variety of migrating birds that came and went through this area, and his love of nature blended with his love of the visual arts. Terrill attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison earning degrees in art and wildlife ecology. Upon graduation, he pursued a career in painting and was an understudy of museum curator and Natural History artist, Owen Gromme, for seven years. Terrill was Gromme's only student.
Knaack's paintings have been shown at many of the nations' natural history museums, as well as the National Geographic Society's Explorer Hall in Washington D.C. Terrill has had numerous one man shows in his career. In 1983, Terrill received the Alumni Achievement Award from Wayland Academy and was selected as Honorary Chairperson for Wisconsin Youth Art Month in 1986. He has continued to lend his support to art education programs from high school through the college level. In addition, Terrill was a Featured Artist for the Wisconsin Public Television Great TV Auction and received the Artist of the Year award from the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association in 2011.
Terrill's originals hang in private collections throughout the nation. Collectors of originals have included many of the Midwest's major corporations, such as Miller Brewing, Pabst Farms, State Farm Insurance, ABC Supply, Powercom, Advance Products and Century Telephone to name a few. Terrill has produced many paintings and limited edition prints for Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, and Wings Over Wisconsin as the "Artist of the Year" for these conservation organizations. Over 70 limited edition prints and canvas reproductions have been published. The majority of limited edition prints are sold out editions.
More recent representative collections of Terrill’s work were acquired for permanent display at the Wisconsin Veterans Administration (and now hang in the Chapel at Boland Hall in Union Grove), the Marshfield Medical Center - Beaver Dam, and at the UW Hospital and Clinics in Madison, WI. Seven landscapes painted from Wisconsin's state natural areas and sanctuaries were purchased by the UW Hospital and Clinics for their new American Center Hospital. Terrill's work has been featured in numerous Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum shows as part of the international 'Birds-in-Art" exhibition. Several of his pieces have went on the Museum's national tour. His painting White on White - Snowy Owl, hangs in the Woodson's permanent collection. Terrill had a painting in the 2021 Birds-in-Art exhibition entitled 'Morning on the Marsh. This piece is currently part of the national tour which will run through March of 2023.
Terrill continues to paint at his studio and in the field. He has added new dimensions to his work by concentrating on location paintings and larger landscapes that explore the spirtual reality of nature. Terrill is currently an artist-in-residence, and artist mentor, at the UW-Madison Trout Lake Limnology Center, located in Vilas County, WI.
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