Teri Tompkins is a local artist that grew up in St. Augustine and after traveling the world and living in both Europe and California made her way back home in 2005. Although she did not begin truly studying art in a classroom until later in life, she has always had a passion for it and has followed that passion, which even led her to traveling around Europe on her own when she was just 16 years old.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in St. Augustine and lived in California for 25 years, also spending time in Europe, including Italy and Switzerland.
I grew up being a part of the local surf community and even after all that time away, I still consider myself to be a local girl at heart.
I came back home after years away around 2005.
I did not start studying art until later in life when my daughter got older and left the house for college.
Prior to that I had always just studied art by walking into churches and museums and looking around at all the artwork, especially after I went to Europe for the first time when I was just 16 years old.
I was a rebellious teenager, and I found out that people can do a lot of different things with their rebellious energy and that’s what I chose to do with it.
At the time I was just young and fascinated with all things foreign.
Later on I became a mom and it took over my life, which I was happy with.
However, I never abandoned art entirely and I was always looking for things to do to feed that creativity.
Where do you get your inspiration for your artwork?
Of all the places I’ve been in the world, I’ve always thought of Anastasia Island as one of the best places in the world.
I think it’s the solitude and lack of noise from the rest of the world that you can find there. There is really no noise, except for the sound of the ocean.
I run into other artists walking the beach there all the time, and it’s because it’s a nice break and gives you that place be at peace and really think to yourself.
Afterall, how can one create if they are not one with themselves in that way. It provides such an inspiration for artwork.
Is there a certain type of artwork you specialize in?
I focus on paintings in oil and I do a variety of works, but I have an environmental series called Guardians.
It really allows me to bring my Italian renaissance inspiration to life as I capture local flora and fauna that are such common sights around this area.
The Guardian series is really more illustrated than some of my other works, but it is a good way of getting a message across through my work.
For years when I was younger I did stained glass windows for churches while I was in California, but I eventually left stained glass and got into painting much more.
I’ve found that it is amazing how one art form can influence the other. It’s just another way to find inspiration, and it shows that inspiration can come from anywhere and anything around you.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
When I paint, my work is a little visual prayer that I end up saying through my depictions.
It is how I wish the world would be and I express those feelings in my various artworks.
How would you describe the local art community?
It has exploded since I was growing up here.
There weren’t many artists around then, but now there are so many and so many different kinds of artists that are able to find beauty in such different ways.
I wrote a book called “The Master Artist Within,” which focuses on the art and science of redirecting your creative energy.
It is a way that I can give back after all the years and experiences that I’ve been through.