American Made Show: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you arrived where you are today.
Lynn Garlick: I have drawn, painted and worked with wood all my life. Trained as a classical painter, I found I was not making enough money with my paintings to support my 3 year old son. One Christmas, 24 years ago, I decided to carve and paint some small retablos, or Northern New Mexico icon’s, for a Christmas crafts fair to make enough money to buy presents for my son. I sold out in the first hour. After that show the saints took over my art and my life. I began to see how deeply they touched some people and felt a responsibility to make the paintings a prayer for healing, kindness and right thought.
American Made Show: Describe the path that led to your career as an artist.
Lynn Garlick: I have thought of myself as an artist since I was tiny. My Mother was on the auxiliary board of the Baltimore Museum of art in the early 60’s. On Saturdays she would take my sister and I to the museum. While she worked, we wandered all over the museum through the rooms of Matisse’s paintings down to the mummies in the basement. I absorbed and noted the color and designs of all the things I saw. It made me want to recreate them all.
AMS: What does the creative process entail for you?
Lynn Garlick: When I am moving into the creative space I feel like I am falling in love. The process can be both painful, when it is not being given to me, and wonderful when it is given to me. There are practical things that must be done, like board preparation and researching the saint’s life before I start the painting. Each part requires a different skill and focus from me. The whole process is rewarding and a personally profound journey.
AMS: What inspires you to create new designs?
Lynn Garlick: I do a lot of commissioned work. Most of the time, it is the saint I have been asked to paint that inspires me and directs my image. My mind is always working, however, on designs making notes for new work. I respond to the world visually and find inspiration every where.
AMS: Tell us about the technical processes you employ in your work.
Lynn Garlick: My original retablos are hand carved and painted with water color on ponderosa pine. Once it is dried I polyurethane the work. If I am going to use the image for production, it is photographed, printed on paper in 4 sizes and decoupaged onto pine boards. I cut, sand and paint the edges. I use a laser to cut the 2 smaller sizes and engrave the saints story and prayer on the back of the wood.
AMS: How would you describe your artistic style?
Lynn Garlick: My retablos are done in the traditional primitive style of New Mexico.
AMS: What type of customers tend to like your work?
Lynn Garlick: I have a broad audience for my work because it addresses so many different needs in peoples lives. Form Catholics, to new age, to just for fun kinds of people. It is found in the mission shops in California, to new age shops around the country to museum shops in Southwest and Tennessee.
AMS: What is your most popular product line?
Lynn Garlick: My most popular size of saints is my pocket saint. It fits in the palm of your hand and has the saints patronage and prayer engraved on its’ back. They address many aspects of peoples lives from work and career, to health, family and pets. They are a great, inexpensive and thoughtful gift to wish people well.
AMS: Do you have any big announcements or plans in the near future?
Lynn Garlick: In 2015 I took all the saints images I have created over the years and complied them into ‘ A Little Book Of Saints’. It is 96 full color pages, each with the saint’s image, story and a prayer. It make a great gift with a pocket saint retailing for under $20.00
Meet Lynn Garlick at the 2016 American Made Show in Washington DC!
Company Name: Lynn Garlick Retablos
Studio Location: Taos, NM
Booth #: 825
See more new exhibitors for 2016 on the American Made Show Pinterest page.