Capturing the essence of a person
This story was featured in the December 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Tina Garrett paints birds, flowers, and still lifes, but it’s the human figure that consistently speaks to her artistic heart and soul. Unlike many figurative artists, she is often initially attracted not so much to someone’s facial expression but rather to a person’s posture. “The posture tells you a lot about the person, like their age and mood,” Garrett says. To catch people in a spontaneous moment before her potential subjects square their shoulders or strike a stiff pose, she sometimes discreetly snaps a photograph with her iPhone and then asks permission to use the image as reference material.
In BABY BLUE, however, she asked permission first. Garrett recalls that her inspiration for the painting occurred when she spotted a woman tromping down a Coney Island boardwalk. Nearly 6 feet tall with piercing blue eyes and some serious boots, the woman cut an imposing figure. Garrett expected an attitude from the woman with a tattoo on her knuckles that read “Baby Blue.” Unlike her outwardly daunting demeanor, however, the woman seemed a little shy when Garrett revealed she wanted to take a photo for reference.
Garrett, a former illustrator, says her fine-art career began in 2012 when the Scottsdale Artists’ School in Arizona awarded her a merit scholarship to study oil painting with Romel de la Torre. Today the Missouri-based artist boasts a résumé filled with prestigious juried shows and honors. This year, for example, she received an award of excellence from the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society as well as a first-place award in the Oil Painters of America Online Showcase.
As a representational artist, Garrett explains, she isn’t trying to send any particular message with her work but just wants each painting to stand alone on its merits of good composition and design, long after anything she said or wrote about it is forgotten. “I just want to send the best of myself into the outside world,” she adds. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the December 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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