CINDY TRIST is a very talented woman—and her talents range and vary. Her Northshore surroundings are only enhancing her creativity. Whether she is working in her interior design business, cooking, gardening, or painting, Trist is constantly creating.
“I have always enjoyed painting and the arts. I went to school at Country Day, which was in my day a very artsy school, so I was constantly immersed in creative activities and always inspired; I thrived in that environment. I always liked painting and wanted to do more of it.”
After graduating from the University of Kentucky, Trist went to work for an ad agency. “I studied advertising in school. In those days, we had to draw; nothing was done on the computer.” After a few years with a New Orleans publishing group, Trist began her family and continued with some small ad accounts working from home. “Friends started asking for my help with decorating their houses, and so my interior design business was born. To me, it’s all related—having a creative mind for design, be it graphic or interior, or art.”
And so it went for Trist through the years. She was always proclaiming, “When I grow up, I am going to paint.”
It seems that Trist has grown up. Our cover artist’s beautiful painting, serves as an inspirational example. These days, Trist’s paintings adorn the walls of a Covington art gallery, and she couldn’t be more excited. “I have taken art classes here and there, but then about two years ago, my husband gave me an easel and said, ‘Ok, you are a grown up now. Your kids are gone. Do it!’”
With husband Nick’s support, Cindy shifted her focus a bit and has not looked back. She began painting regularly (again), but this time she started taking lessons with local artist Gretchen Armbruster. She set out to do paintings for her own house, or for her kids, or clients. And then, Gretchen requested that Trist leave her paintings to be on display in the gallery. “Gretchen truly brings out the talent of her students. She makes you feel so good. All my stuff is there now. It is super exciting to me.
“Years ago, I started painting with acrylics, because oils scared me. I took some lessons, and I clearly did not know how to paint with oil. I found the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art was very serious. I left there thinking, ‘I can’t do this.’” But when Trist found Armbruster, things began to click.
Trist feels she is still mastering her look; her style is a little different from everybody else’s. She enjoys a ‘chunky’ style of painting. Loose, bold strokes with lots of paint on the brush come together in the layers to create the painting.
“I am trying to figure out my style; it seems to be still evolving. But it’s like when I first began decorating my house and my friends’ houses, I began collecting things I liked, and I eventually landed on a ‘look’ for my house. And that look was what attracted my friends and clients to me and made them ask me to work in their homes,” says Trist.
As a child, Trist was intrigued with the beauty of light and was mesmerized by its reflection sparkling on a lake or sunbeams streaming through the clouds. Since she first started painting, Cindy has been drawn to subjects that would allow her to experiment and manipulate paint in an attempt to replicate the light and textures. “I love patina on furniture and on objects. I like the crustiness that comes with age, and I try to depict that in my paintings of wonderful old things.” She says that years of wax buffed on old wood, confit pots distressed over the years, antique woven textiles and flowers in a wicker basket are examples of things she finds to be beautiful. “When I started taking classes with Gretchen, I really began to see the importance of shadows in a painting. She showed me how to use the play of light and dark against each other to bring in interest and depth to my art. She’s continually pushing me to add more dark.”
Trist and her husband, Nick, have lived on a lake in Mandeville for 25 years, raising their two boys, Nicholas and Beau. She says, “It’s a happy house, with a good soul and a lot of love.” She paints in a central location in the house because she doesn’t like to be hidden away. Often, her Jack Russell terrier, Jack, who is deaf, sits nearby. Cindy calls him her “little buddy” or “sidekick.” Their black Lab, Jake, completes the household.
Cindy says, “It’s amazing how I feel like I view the world around me with so much clarity when looking at it through an artist’s eye. I feel so blessed to be able to continue to learn and grow doing something that I enjoy this much! Even if I never sold a painting, I would do it. It’s not only therapy for me—I love it!”