Trina Moore’s past careers include working as a police officer and firefighter. Today she is finding success as an artist at The Moore Gallery in Montesano.
“I just can’t even believe I can paint like I can,” she said. “I always drew as a kid. But I never thought I would be one of those people who was talented, or even that I could paint.”
Moore worked as a firefighter for four years before starting what would become an 11-year career with the Portland Police Bureau.
“Public service was my background,” she said. But a medically forced retirement from the police changed that.
About four years ago, Moore was diagnosed with narcolepsy.
“I started painting full time to cope with the loss of my identity, the loss of my career,” she said.
Her new career is full of color and detail and is found on the walls in oil paints.
Moore and wife Tammy Moore opened the gallery on the corner of Marcy Avenue and First Street in December. Inside, the air, amazingly, smells fresher than outside. It could have something to do with the scores of plants they have for sale. Succulents, cacti and other house plants cover most horizontal surfaces.
On the walls, most of Trina Moore’s work is of scenes from nature. Closeups of Northwest flowers in bright oranges, reds and purples — on canvasses varying in size from about a square foot to about 4 feet by 5 feet — can be found on her walls beside a large image of a bear with a bright red salmon in its mouth.
Prices vary depending on the work. Her website lists pieces that sell from $385 to one that sold recently for $5,400.
Moore mostly taught herself to paint.
“I took one workshop, and the only thing that I took from the workshop was the gal said something to the effect of, ‘Don’t be a slave to your painting.’ ” she said. “One of the things that people don’t know about painting unless they do it is that it is super stressful. You’re constantly afraid that you’re going to screw it up every time that you touch the canvas. There’s so much self doubt, self loathing. But you have to trust the process.”
Moore’s first gallery was in Olympia, but the business struggled.
“We signed this year lease and there was zero foot traffic,” she said.
So she and Tammy, who works at Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma, decided to come to Montesano. In addition to the artwork and plants, the Moores sell jewelry and incense. Soon they plan to add knives and leather products. The Moores, who live in Olympia, are considering expanding their presence in Montesano.
“We’re thinking of opening a bookstore and a gelato stand here,” Trina Moore said.
She is learning to trust her skills and feel good about her work. She also puts a lot of herself into the paintings.
“In the two months that I’ve been here, I’ve sold nine oil paintings,” she said.
Recently she’s received commissions for original paintings. She has been working on a painting of a fishing boat for the boat’s owner.
“I feel like, when people commission a piece from me, they get my positive energy,” she said. “So he’s going to have a reminder in his home all the time of that.”