Sunday, March 25, 2012


… the most prolific artist I know….. fulfilling Malcolm Gladwell’s premise in ‘Outliers’ that you have to put in at least 10,000 hours at your craft to be good/great.  Gayle has done that and more with a body of work that spans a lifetime of travel to every corner of the globe.  Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?  Been there, done that along with such a myriad of adventures you’ll just have to go to her website to see them all.

Holding one of the many books she’s illustrated, Gayle is standing in front of 50 (correct) of the exquisite, hand made antique brushes she found in a Beijing flea market.  These unique brushes, some jade, bamboo, ivory, cloisonné, or porcelain are made of deer, rabbit, wolf, sheep or goat hair and were highlighted in a watercolor series.  As I often love to say, no animals were hurt in the making of these brushes.  Feel better?

I would say Gayle’s oeuvre consists of series of paintings such as ‘Travel Treasures’ from around the world, ‘Highlights of Los Angeles’, ‘Tuscan Pottery’ and so on.  These vivid watercolor paintings express Gayle’s sheer delight and joie de vivre in each and every experience she has had. 


I wish I had taken a close-up of these watercolor tins Gayle had custom made….a smaller version rides along on planes, trains, ships or perhaps even camels and elephants (I wouldn’t be surprised!) Remember I said Gayle is the most prolific artist meaning she is ALWAYS PAINTING or sketching!


Working on a current series depicting the rice fields in the Philippines.


I have to comment on the striking necklace and earrings,……did I mention Gayle is also an accomplished jewelry designer who makes pieces as stunning and dramatic as she is?


I’m not being prejudice but do think Gayle’s selection in the ‘Master’s of the American West’ exhibit at the Autry was the most captivating.  And, may I add that other artists have agreed with my selection.  I know one isn’t supposed to comment on the frame surrounding any artwork but Gayle has devised a unique signature Lucite frame that instead of dominating her artwork as most do, always enhances it.


It was great fun seeing the show.


Gayle’s goal is to “see, feel and paint the world” and I do believe she’ll accomplish just that!!!

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There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.