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Her Childhood Ambition Illuminates Her Artful Illustrations

If you ask any local what distinguishes Fayetteville from other American cities, one answer you probably won’t get is that Fayetteville is famous for being the birthplace of Putt-Putt Golf. However, amidst this obscure bit of history is exactly the place where begins the story of Chyrl Garrett Weber’s rise to artistic success. At twenty-one, she applied for a position at the Fayetteville Putt-Putt headquarters as a receptionist. However, three days after beginning her new job, the owner dismissed the art director, and remembering that the all the “interests” indicated on Garrett’s application were related to art, decided to give her an opportunity at the task.

After a brief marriage which ended in divorce and left Chyrl with two small children, she began taking on various illustration jobs she could complete at home nights and weekends for extra money. Garrett said, “When I started the pen & inks, I did it out of necessity after the divorce. I wanted to be with my kids, so I came home at night and worked on sketches. I might not have always been as attentive as I wanted, but I was always there.”

Putt-Putt was so pleased with Garrett’s illustration and design work, which included billboards, magazines, posters, t-shirt designs, logos, catalogs, newspaper ads, and newsletters that the company also asked her to begin designing Putt-Putt courses. She continued at Putt-Putt as Art Director for nineteen years before leaving to pursue a freelance career in illustration, specializing in buildings. Builders and local citizens also began commissioning her to draw their homes, and Garrett-Weber is known for her drawings each year in the Parade of Homes book issued by the Fayetteville Home Builders Association. In addition, her depictions of local attractions such as the Market House and Fort Bragg’s Main Post Chapel help to preserve the more illustrious bits of Fayetteville’s history.

Garrett’s fascination with art began at a young age, when she remembers designing clothes for homemade paper dolls and drawing pictures for friends. Her interest continued into high school, and one of her teachers even encouraged her to pursue a career in fashion design and portraiture. Though her career path led her in a somewhat different direction, Garrett-Weber still feels that her work is influenced by her childhood dreams.

She said, “One of the reasons I think I was attracted to pen and ink and the building perspectives was that my father worked for a commercial plumbing contractor. He used to bring home blueprints to compile estimates on buildings, and he would explain to me how to read them.”

Though her primary mediums are pen and ink and watercolors, Garrett-Weber also works with colored pencils, pastels, acrylics, gouache, and oils. In addition to her illustration work, the artist is passionate about painting portraits of both people and pets. For portraits, she prefers to use oils and more impressionistic techniques than she uses for her precise pen & ink illustrations. She says she is inspired by contemporary artists Pino, Howard Terpning and Kenneth Riley, as well as by the French impressionists, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Degas and others.

“Monet’s work is amazing because when you look at it from far away, it’s so unified, but then you get close up, and it seems like randomly placed paintbrush strokes,” she marvels.

While she loves the precision of pen and ink because “working with small details is almost meditative,” Garrett-Weber also enjoys the expressive freedom that is more conducive to painting and hopes to become more involved with the latter medium now that she isn’t struggling to make ends meet.

“It wasn’t always easy,” she said, “but my children are grown now. I’ve remarried, and life is much easier these days.”

Chyrl Garrett-Weber currently lives with her husband in Fayetteville and enjoys working on her art, traveling, and spending time with her young grandchildren. Those interested in seeing more of Garrett-Weber’s work should visit her website at www.chyrlgarrett.com or stop in at the office of Townsend Real Estate, where many of her works are on display. The time it takes Garrett-Weber to complete illustrations and paintings varies based on the size of the project, but the artist noted that she will work with clients to accommodate a time frame. Those interested in commissioning the artist for illustrations and portraits should e-mail her at cgarrettweber@nc.rr.com.

Shannon Ward is a student at Methodist University.