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Washington Voices

The Verve: Garvey to have first artist’s reception March 7

Sat., Feb. 22, 2014

Jeanie Garvey poses with one of her pieces, a self-portrait called “Red Jaw,” on Feb. 19 at Echo Boutique in downtown Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Jeanie Garvey poses with one of her pieces, a self-portrait called “Red Jaw,” on Feb. 19 at Echo Boutique in downtown Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Jeanie Garvey has only recently embraced and exposed her creative nature.

Her 50-plus-year journey has been filled with ups and downs including addiction and the inability to trust.

Now, in a detached art studio behind her home in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood, she trusts, allowing the creative process, as well as her dreams, to lead her.

“When I slow down, relax, meditate, sleep, dream and let go, it allows me to get out of the drama of my story and get distance and perspective,” she said. “With acceptance and a lack of judgment, it offers me images to acknowledge and share.”

Her images, created in oil or acrylic on canvas or window panes, are a mix of soft impressionism, surrealism and whimsy. There is a bright portrait of a woman and her dog, a mischievous nun and a woman reaching her hand out toward the viewer, a head in a rowboat and another floating above a winding road. Serious and silly, her work represents her dreams and the gamut of her experiences, recalled and visually set free.

Garvey grew up in Indiana, where, as a child, she’d build altars out of joy, frustration, sadness and fear by a creek, in the closet, on the roof or at the base of a tree, perhaps foreshadowing her desire to give form to feelings and then release them. She made art in junior high and high school but moved on, working odd jobs and finding herself in an unhappy relationship.

Her sister had moved to Spokane and Garvey followed, settling in Spokane more than 20 years ago for a new start, working more odd jobs and eventually earning a license as a massage therapist, a profession she’s worked at for 20 years, all the while searching for her voice.

She has dabbled in ceramics and other art forms and was invited to sit in on a college art class at Eastern Washington University, where she learned to focus on the process rather than the results.

She built her art studio last year and began painting whenever the urge arose. A few months ago, she took a leap and hung her paintings on the walls of the lobby on the main floor of the Community Building, 35 W. Main Ave. While placing them on the walls, someone asked her about prices, something she hadn’t even considered. She quickly sold two pieces. Through March, she will be the featured artist at Echo Boutique, 176 S. Howard St., and participate in her first artist’s reception during downtown’s First Friday exhibits on March 7.

Her ultimate goals are to become more aware of her personal nature, to have fun, and be creative.

“I love where I am now,” she said. “The inner world is so much larger and more accessible. I want to meet the outer world with my inner world. Not only do I feel it is my duty; I am driven by it.”

The Verve is a feature celebrating the arts. If you know an artist, dancer, actor, musician, photographer, band or singer, contact correspondent Jennifer LaRue by email at

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