Artist of the Month

Teri Garner pauses with an in-progress work in her studio; photo by LaVerne Kyriss.

Teri Garner pauses with an in-progress work in her studio; photo by LaVerne Kyriss.

LaVerne Kyriss

Research, study, documentation and thoroughness are highly disciplined practices that Teri Garner used during her career as a speech pathologist and special education program specialist. They’re also approaches Garner has transferred to her new-found pursuit of art. On bookshelves in her welcome and inviting studio are found neatly-labeled binders full of carefully documented research on painting styles, artists and other related topics. They are illustrated with sketches, color palettes and other visual keys documenting how she is exploring the world of art. Samples of her work fill a grid on one wall and bright, cheerful accents add to the peaceful, orderly and organized setting.

“In 2010, I began doing art journaling as a way to explore my creative nature. I soon began making cards with mixed media, stamps, inks, letterforms, crayons, collage and book making. Concurrently, I was exploring various design approaches. I really enjoyed the idea of visual expression,” she said. “I have always been creative — dancing, singing, expressing myself — but art was a new aspect of that.”

When the Garners moved to SaddleBrooke three years ago, Teri decided it was the time in her life to “do more with art.” “The first year I took every class I could find, exploring many different media. I discovered I really liked working in acrylics. It’s very forgiving,” she noted. “I love the process of creating. I generally start with three colors and mix and play with them. I like to work to get depth. I explore shape and line to see how they come together.”

While Garner modestly claims to be “mostly self-taught,” this, she explains, means she did not study art at the university level and does not have an art degree. Instead, she continues to take workshops, attend periodic non-critique sessions hosted by the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild and study the work of individual artists, taking detailed notes on their approaches. She also credits the support of several teachers and mentors with helping her develop as an artist.

“I start a piece, work on it a couple of hours, then set it aside. I look at it the next day and repeat the process. Often, I have several pieces in various states of progress,” Garner noted.

“Color is important to me,” she explained. “As I work, I think about how each shape, line, color and texture adds to the whole. I enjoy playing with perspectives and receding and advancing planes. My paintings are bright, colorful, light and loose visual statements.”

Garner describes her style as abstract expressionist: “For me, each painting contains subtle mystery. I like to leave my paintings open to interpretation by the viewer and hope they have fun looking at them.”

“I draw inspiration from traveling, visiting galleries to see what others are creating, classical music, color and reading—almost anything can provide that spark,” she explained.

“Creating art has become my passion,” Garner reflected. “Art provides a place to quiet myself, to refocus, to be in the moment. My studio time offers me an opportunity to contemplate, recharge and find restful moments away from the turmoil of our chaotic world.”