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Wyatt’s works make dreams come to life

By Staff | Sep 24, 2009

Known for her mysterious mermaids that beckon from ethereal, underwater realms, Christina Wyatt is the creative bridge that, with the stroke of a paintbrush, delivers the inhabitants of the kingdom of the surreal into the real world.

Born and raised in Miami, Wyatt grew up surrounded by water. She moved to Maine and later Virginia – always near the water – before she returned to Florida 15 years ago.

Wyatt says she’s always been attracted to the world of creativity.

“I’ve always just gravitated towards drawing pictures. That was always my main interest,” Wyatt said, recalling how she would get into innocent trouble with her teachers in elementary school because she spent more time on her doodles and drawings than her other lessons – of course, when she decided to get her degree in art, drawing was always welcome in the classroom.

“I had some schooling, but I had a little boy I was raising. I decided to go back for my arts degree because I hadn’t done that yet. I moved down to Richmond, Va. to go to the Virginia Commonwealth School of Fine Arts, and that’s where I started painting,” Wyatt said.

But for Wyatt, art isn’t just a profession or a pastime – it’s her lifeblood.

“It’s my refuge. It’s where I go. I do it because I have to do it. It’s when I’m happy. It’s my love.

“Though I do make my living with my art,” she continued, “it goes so much deeper than that for me. It’s such a soul-satisfying experience for me and it’s something that I will continue to explore and grow in. It’s a personal experience for me. It’s not just about selling. It’s about expressing myself.”

A soft-spoken woman by nature, Wyatt says that because of her introverted personality art is the best way for her to completely express herself. But while her paintings may speak volumes about Wyatt as an artist and creative entity, it’s the quiet mystery of her sun-soaked shells and mystical merfolk that evoke a soothing sense of serenity in the viewer.

“Sometimes people will say that my paintings are quiet, that they seem peaceful. I like to hear that because that’s something that I always look for in my work, to obtain that peaceful place. It must be something that I’m always seeking myself,” she said.

And indeed, Wyatt’s paintings are like glimpses into a hidden, dream-like kingdom, the realm of the surreal – especially when it comes to Wyatt’s breath-taking mermaids.

“They do cast spells. I like to make real the unreal. That’s where the dream-like quality comes from,” she says.

Wyatt’s affinity for mermaids happened by accident when, in painting a picture of an underwater reef teeming with creatures, she painted a ghostly mermaid into the background.

The spectral siren wasn’t a feature of the painting, but someone picked up on the creature and asked Wyatt to produce more like her.

“She wasn’t a big part of the picture, but it was seen by someone who had asked me to be a part of their gallery, so for my first piece for that gallery, I did a mermaid painting. It had a very nice reception and that kind of encouraged me to develop that line of thought a little further,” Wyatt said.

Now, years after her first mermaid piece, Wyatt is probably best known for her dreamy depictions of the fabled sea sirens. Whether they’re sleeping soundly on the ocean floor or staring coquettishly out from the canvas, Wyatt’s mermaids are the magical manifestations of the artist’s innate ability to portray the surreal in gorgeous realism.

In fact, it was Wyatt’s love for all things artistic and oceanic that won her enough attention to be featured in Nantucket-based artist Claire Murray’s latest publication, “Women and the Sea,” a coffee-table book featuring stories about women from around the world whose daily lives and work are inspired by their love of the water.

“I’m so excited to be a part of this. It’s really cool,” Wyatt said, noting that, in addition to herself, there are stories and glorious full-color photos from an underwater photographer, a woman who carves figureheads and a female gondolier – just to name a few. You can learn more about the book “Women and the Sea” at www.ClaireMurray.com.

“I find it very peaceful to be near the water [and] I’m inspired by grace in nature and the beauty found in that world,” Wyatt said, noting that she has a great appreciation for memories, feelings and emotion, three elements that factor heavily into her pieces – especially her two newest surreal paintings, “Things to Remember I & II.”

“Everything has a sense of grace. Sometimes I’ll see the shape of something or the color of something and then that will be an inspiration to get me started. But in the end it has to speak to me in a way that reaches a place inside of me. It’s got to be about something that’s deeper. It’s all about feelings and emotions and the deeper parts of your mind,” Wyatt said, noting that she’s also an impossible editor.

“I have to keep picking at it. I’ve got paintings that have been scanned, photographed and framed already, and I’ve gone back because there was something about it that was just really bugging me. It’s called obsession,” she says with a smile.

“I’m always trying to make something better than it is. Each painting I move on to, I want it to be better than the one before. I’m my worst critic. But it’s what makes me grow.”

In addition to being a celebrated artist and self-proclaimed perfectionist, Wyatt is also a proud mother to a son.

“He’s my pride and joy. We talk often and I see him as much as I can. He’s a great young man. He’s proud of his mother and he’s very supportive. We support each other,” she said.

When she isn’t working, Wyatt says she’s usually thinking about working.

“I’m really focused on my work nowadays. If I’m doing anything else besides that, it’s usually art-related or spending time with friends. When I do have free time, I like to take long walks. That’s my favorite thing. I like to just feel it,” Wyatt said, mentioning a recent trip she took to Virginia to visit her son.

“I just love to walk and listen and absorb. It’s a time to reflect and rest your mind.”

So what’s next for Wyatt?

“My goals and my work are about doing the best that I can and just developing further and further. I have long-term goals and short term goals and I’m always looking to move beyond where I am and grow as an artist – and as a person too. I want people to enjoy my work and to appreciate it,” she said.

To learn more about Wyatt, visit her Web site, www.CPWyatt.com.

“You can contact me through my Web site if you just want to share your thoughts. I always get e-mails from people. I make copies and keep them in a file because it’s nice to know that there are people out there who take the time to write and just say how they feel. I think it’s great,” she said.

Christina Wyatt’s magical masterpieces are available at 2 Islands Gallery in Chadwick Square at South Seas Island Resort. 2 Islands Gallery is open to the public every day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information about the gallery, call 472-5111 ext. 7633.