Recently honored as one of Arizona’s “Most Notable Women Artists,” Gini Heywood was one of a select group of top local artists to participate in a unique three-month-long event that recognized both the artists and the subjects they painted.
Called “The Notable Arizona Women Artists Paint the Notable Arizona Women Achievers Showcase,” Gini and the other artists created custom portraits of accomplished Arizona women, ranging from well-known local and national celebrities, philanthropists, educators, government leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists and more. The Gallery of the Chandler Center for the Arts housed the showcase.
Gini says she felt honored to contribute four oil paintings to the showcase. The women she painted were: Debbie Gaby, co-founder and former president of Sleep America chain and founder of Debbie Gaby Charities Foundation; Rita Davenport, legendary pioneer of Arizona broadcast media, New York Times best-selling author and long-time president of a global corporation; Jody Jackson, popular Fox Arizona Sports Network host and television analyst; and Judge Lynn Toler, veteran of the nationally syndicated TV show “Divorce Court” and author of several books to help couples avoid many of the causes of divorce and heal family relationships.
A member of the Olive Ward, Mesa Stake, Gini began painting when she was 10. She says she always dreamed of becoming an artist. Yet, it wasn’t her degree from Herron School of Art or her experience teaching at Mesa Activity Center that made her dream a reality. After graduating from art school and returning to Mesa, she met Michael Heywood, who would later become her husband and who introduced her to the LDS Church.
“As the light of Christ came into my life, I began to see more beauty in the world and my artwork dramatically improved,” Gini says.
Her painting titled “A House of Glory” was the image used on the 2012 Mesa Temple schedule card. Another painting, “Christ Is The Head,” was displayed at the Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center as part of the Christmas nativity display.
Today, Gini works in the Records Office at the Mesa Temple. She says, even in paintings that seem more secular, “My art is a way for me to honor and praise my Heavenly Father, and I strive to instill that same worshipful awe that I feel for Him into the heart of every individual who views my work.”
Most of all, she says, “I want to paint my testimony.”
She also wants to encourage other artists and, as a way to do so, she co-founded The Ateliers Group, an exclusive artists’ support team.
The positive response to the recent Showcase inaugural program set the stage for an expanded, ongoing exhibition titled “The Fabulous Faces of Arizona: The Famous & the Fascinating,” which will portray the entire history of Arizona from the 1800s to the present day.
Also as a direct outcome of the Showcase, Gini was invited to attend the annual Debbie Gaby Celebrity Charity Catwalk at the Omni Scottsdale Resort in Paradise Valley, where she was introduced on stage.
The website, giniheywoodstudio.com, is dedicated to Gini’s Showcase paintings. To contact her, call 480-969-2140.