Influencer: Theresa Girard

Acclaimed artist and South County Art Association member on color, coffee, and lifelong learning


Does living in Narragansett play a role in your work?

I am drawn to the sea, I am at home and safe there; it influences my work greatly. Narragansett is an incredible community with many spots for reflection. Like the ocean, I encourage the viewer to engage with the work, similar to a daydream.


It’s noted that your works are influenced by the weight of current circumstances, feelings, or intentions. How does today’s environment inform your approach to the canvas?

Painting in the non-objective is a very guttural practice. Moods, emotions, and current climates aid or deter my daily practice. In 1984 I saw Guernica by Pablo Picasso when it was in NYC. I always knew I would paint a contemporary version. 2020 developed such an emotional response that I created a series with these thoughts in mind. I am hoping to feature the work this summer.


How did you become involved with the South County Art Association?

I championed a community-based program in South Kingstown at the Neighborhood Guild for adults and teens. I encouraged most of the students to enter shows there. It is a special place. I had the first view of my own painting in a gallery as a member of SCAA.


What are some of your favorite local small businesses?

I’m a big fan of Roch’s Market and the Coffee Connection in Narragansett, Spa Thayer in the Pier, T’s Restaurant, and of course the Matunuck Oyster Bar.


Any words of wisdom for budding artists?

The best thing I can say to my students and aspiring artists is that there is no magic pill. If you want to be a good artist, you must do the work and do it often. The celebrated cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice at age 90; he replied, “Because I think I’m making progress.” Also, ignore criticism and avoid thinking about the outcome. Just show up and paint. Most of all, try and pay it forward whenever you can.


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