Local Talk: Interview with featured artist Dawn Garrison


We're excited to have your work at Local! We discovered each other as you have painted for some time but rarely publicly displayed your work. Why us, why now?

I am going to call this ‘where serendipity and opportunity crossed paths’. John Lennon is better known for his version but in 1957 Allen Saunders wrote ‘life is what happens to us while we are making other plans’. For me it is an apt description of the last 25 years. Long story short, after much prodding by several friends I began opening myself to opportunity and soon after met you. This sampling of my work at Local is one small step.


Which past or existing painters have had specific meaning for you, which have really stimulated your passion for this art?

I appreciate various artists and painters of many styles and most stimulate me on some level. I love impressionism but my natural tendency is realism. I am captivated by the works of Angus Wilson, R. Mike Nichols and Brienne M. Brown.

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Tell us about your subject matter. How do you choose where to focus your creative energy?

I could get lost in this question but if I allow myself I would write a novella so I’ll answer this in more recent context.

For quite a long time all I painted were landscapes and gardens, until one day I was done. Currently I paint animals. I have a great love for creatures so it makes sense they have been my focus. This last year and a half I have mostly been busy painting commissions; primarily dogs and that’s alright by me.


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Do you paint during a particular time of day? in a particular space?

I am so fortunate to have a dedicated space on the southeast side of our home. I am surrounded by natural light and an awesome view (when I look up – lol). Painting during the day works best for me.


There's a local Montclair element in one of your paintings. How did you come to live in the area and why is Montclair important to you?

I was born in Montclair and raised in the area and met my husband in high school. We have always felt family was important and wanted to stay close; plus this area has so much to offer no matter what your interests are.



Of all of your work, is there a particular piece that has the most meaning for you?

I painted a self-portrait during a difficult time in my life. The style totally deviated from anything I had done before or since. I think a psychologist might have fun interpreting it today.


Tell us something about painting that very few or no one knows.

I can only speak for myself, but on occasion you have to remember to breathe.


What is your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

I do love a cup of herbal tea but when I first sat at your counter sipping a cup of drip coffee it transported me to cafes in Europe. Exceptional.

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