Terry grew up in Detroit, Michigan watching his mother paint at home. He loved the smell of turpentine and remember thinking that her oil paintings must be magic as they changed from day to day. He was always drawing especially in school when he wasn't supposed to. When he was 10 his parents took him on his first trip to the Detroit Institute of Art and soon after he began taking the bus by himself to visit the DIA and see the works of the Masters. He was overwhelmed as he sat in front of a painting by Van Gogh or George de La Tour or as he walked through the Diego Rivera mural hall each time he visited.

Art became a constant companion, but so did nature. Throughout his childhood Terry spent weekends exploring the shoreline of lower Michigan with his cousins and spent long summer vacations playing in the woods and waters of the Upper Peninsula.  He was happiest outside on the lake. These summers and time spent in nature would go on to have an impact on his art he could never have imagined and would become one of the greatest natural influences in Terry's painting.

In high school he shared the love of art with close friends. He had a band, acted in the school plays, sang in choirs, and looked at the arts as humanities; through artistic behavior he could change the world. It was in these years that he discovered Dali and by the age of 16 decided that he would be an artist for life. His dad was not pleased by this revelation so, like many teenagers, he became even more determined.

In college Terry pursued a degree in Fine art with a minor in art history and the summer he spent studying the old Masters throughout Europe was the single greatest influence on his artistic education.  He was never the same and vowed to stay the course.

Terry has made his living exclusively as an artist for over four decades. He has rarely worked in only one aspect of the art business, but usually two or three at a time. While he has made a living in large part by pursuing work in commercial applications, there has remained one constant throughout: painting on canvas. Painting on canvas has always been for Terry a way of retaining a connection to art that is not ruled by the mechanics of the commercial.

For the first two decades of Terry's career his painting was heavily influenced by his love for Dali and was a variety of surrealism and symbolism, usually acrylic on canvas. For the last decades, however, Terry has been painting landscapes in oil, occasionally a still life, or a hybrid of the two, influenced by his love of the same woods and waters that was fostered so young. Terry continues to find inspiration from Masters, now looking to the painters of the Hudson River School and the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.

Terry paints full time, almost every day, either in his studio in Lombard, Illinois or in his studio in Michigan's Upper Peninsula along the same shoreline he enjoyed as a kid. He hopes his work will allow viewers the opportunity to emotionally engage with the physical world and maybe find beauty and majesty in seemingly mundane facets of nature.