Everywhere you turn in St. Augustine, you’re bound to find beautiful works from award-winning artists like Teri Tompkins. We had the chance to speak to Teri Tompkins about her artistic style; inspiration and love of representational art, and how organizations like the St. Augustine Art Association are helping to shape our community.
Q: Tell us about your artistic style and process. What goes into creating a piece?
A: Whatever it is that urges me to start a painting is a mystery to me, often catching me by surprise. Unless working on a specific commission, my work is usually motivated by inspiration, a vision, or simply something I love. My paintings are considered representational art, and often a surreal version of reality. I sketch when I travel, but not so much in the studio as I prefer the initial enthusiasm to go into the work before logic tries to interfere. Oil paintings usually begin with a burnt sienna underpainting and structure until it looks a bit like a sepia photograph before adding color. The Guardian paintings, which are more like a storybook world, are created by building up many layers of transparent colors and glazes.
Q: How did you find your passion for representational art?
A: In elementary school I was always sneaking out of class to look for pictures and stories in the library at R.B. Hunt [Elementary] – evidently willing to get into trouble to explore that world. My friend, Becky, and I drew pictures on the chalkboard and declared that we would be artists someday (I have no idea how I even knew what an artist was at the time). St. Augustine was still a tiny village then, but when Disney movies came to town I was transported by the creativity. After winding up in Rome as a teenager, there was no looking back.
Q: Tell us about the inspiration for your book “The Master Artist Within.”
A: The Master Artist Within was born out of a desperate desire to become a better and more authentic artist. It is a manual for becoming the best creator one can be, regardless of the project. The original version, which took years to develop, was actually my doctoral treatise. I was required to test the evolving methodology with a variety of other creative people working in different art forms. I find that no matter where one is as a creator, there is always a “next level” and more to learn. For years, friends encouraged me to put the material into a book that could be used by anyone – eventually that inner voice announced “OK, today’s the day.”
Q: How has St. Augustine changed for the better over the last 10 years, particularly in the realm of arts and culture?
We are fortunate to have some seriously talented artists, craftspeople, musicians, and other creators in St. Augustine that add to our quality of life. The St. Augustine Art Association has evolved from struggling to keep the lights on, to a strong and vibrant organization that makes a real difference in our community. I love having an arts center that embraces all ages, levels, and forms of art without being limited by commercial concerns. We now have a wealth of organizations contributing to our local culture – Flagler College, churches, galleries, EMMA, Limelight Theater, our Amphitheater, the Film Festival, The Gamble Rogers Festival, and others – not to mention the local pubs who continually support and provide some pretty fantastic music.
Q: Where can someone find your work in St. Augustine?
A: In St. Augustine, I am happily represented by Neff Jewelry and Gallery on Rohde Ave.