Tina Garrett credits her best friend, Laura, with giving her the advice she needed to head down the path to becoming an artist. “She said, ‘You are an artist at heart; stop trying to be something you’re not,’ Garrett recalls.
At the time, she had quit her job as a freelance designer and illustrator for a publishing company and was trying to decide what to do next. Her husband Adam, a firefighter and registered nurse, suggested she become a dental hygienist so that, when they retired, they could do traveling nursing and dentistry. The thought of being a dental hygienist, however, set Garrett’s teeth on edge; she couldn’t imagine working in the mouths of strangers.
“I needed someone to say, ‘Be brave; see what else is out there,’” Garrett says. That someone turned out to be her friend, Laura, whose advice she took—and the rest is history.
“I tend to get overcome with ideas and inspiration from particular models and, overwhelmingly, they are dancers in their real lives. This is the fourth painting in my Vintage est Nouveau (What’s Old Is New) series, starring one of my very first muses, Rachel. I could paint her 1,000 times. She got the job for this series for an odd reason, though, not because she was a dancer but because she was the only person I knew tiny enough to fit in the finely made 1920s vintage clothing.”
“Cicerone means guide. When I met the cowboy, Frank Gray, in Coeur d’Alene, I felt immediately at ease with his kind eyes and smiling mustache. I painted him like the Father Christmas of the West, safely guiding travelers through the dark to some warm, distant highland. I have more to make in the Cowboy Series, and I can hardly wait.”