I have enjoyed painting, drawing and calligraphy for as long as I can remember.
My family moved around quite a bit when I was growing up because of my father’s job with the government. I painted my first murals in high school… on my parents’ walls.
My parents were my biggest fans, and my mom was my cheerleader, influencer and BEST critic!
My earliest artistic influence was a professional artist and family friend, Aaron Henderson, from Atlanta, Georgia. I remember being amazed by seeing art that was created by someone who wasn’t in a book or on TV. I was always interested in what he was working on, and he shared his knowledge with me.
During middle school in Greenville, South Carolina, my mom’s office was right across the street from the Greenville Museum of Art. One day, she asked one of the artists who worked there if I could come after school a few days a week and observe, help with installations and learn about art and artists. This experience was definitely one of the things that taught me the most about art.
When I was in the 9th grade, my family moved from Atlanta, Georgia, to Birmingham, Alabama, where I attended Berry High School (now Hoover High School) for one year. I auditioned for the Alabama School of Fine Arts and was accepted into their visual arts program. I graduated from the program in 1984.
My first art exhibit was at our church, the 6th Avenue Baptist Church. Reverend John Porter saw the pieces I did for my senior show at ASFA and let me exhibit in the church for the summer.
I decided not to pursue art in college, and instead studied Public Relations at Auburn University, where I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in 1988. My first “real job” was in Atlanta working as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines. When I wasn’t working, I was painting murals and clothing for extra income.
My artistic influences are Aaron Henderson, Georgia O’Keefe, Andrew Wyeth and two of my ASFA art professors – Jim Neel and Dan Reeves.
I have been married to Rodney Garner for 24 years. He is the associate head football coach at Auburn University. We have six daughters.
On Nov. 12, 2017, I had a freak accident at home and needed a cornea transplant. After two cornea transplants and eight surgeries, I was able to start painting again.
I like to think of myself as a “purveyor of color!” No matter what style or medium I choose, it’s all about how the colors come together and the feeling evoked by those colors when you look at my art. I think a lot about color and depth when I’m composing a piece. I want everything I paint to have the ability to lend an enjoyable sentiment or passion to everyone who sees my art.