Nov 7, 2009
First Guest Artist!
Rose painted with Genesis
Emus with Sydney Opera House
Oil portrait painted with Johnnie Liliedahl
Arum Lilies painted with Genesis
Lorikeets in flight
The first guest artist we are featuring is Gayle Xuereb who comes from an island called Bribie Island. This is just off the coast of Queensland Australia. It is about 50 minutes drive north of its capital city Brisbane, it is joined to the mainland by a bridge ,with a population of around 16,000 residents, it is 32 kilometers long, 11 kilometers wide making it approximately the same size as Singapore.
The island is a Flora and Fauna reserve which is mostly open range protecting all the beautiful wildlife. The traffic gives way to anything that is crossing the road such as Emus and Ducks.
Gayle lives on a canal where she enjoys daily sightings of dolphins and a pet pelican. The surrounding area are filled with all sorts of bird life singing in the trees with the only other noise being boat motors as they pass by. Gayle has her favorites which are the wonderful lorikeets who are always waiting for their seeds.
A short motor out in the boat and you are at sea and in the main shipping channel which is the Sunshine Coast and is the beginning of the islands which make up what is known as The Great Barrier Reef.
Gayle grew up in NSW living in the southern suburbs of Sydney, her mother passed away when she was 12 years old. Her eldest sister Sylvia who had recently married and was only 20 moved back home and helped her father in raising the family. She has three sisters including Sylvia, 4 nephews, 9 great nephews, 4 step grand children, 2 stepdaughters.
Gayle met her wonderful husband in 1987 when she advertised for him on a radio program called “The Midnight Matchmaker”. They have been married for 17 years and she feels like she won the jackpot when she married. Her husband Claude, is Egyptian and was born in Alexandria, moving to Australia with his parents when he was 14 years old. When she and Claude were married, they moved to Queensland.
Gayle’s work experience was in retail management, and as a Pharmaceutical Rep.
She owned her own business which she loved for 9 years, a small store selling gifts, soaps, perfumes and lots of local craft.
In 1990, she and her husband Claude decided to make a move from the hustle and bustle of Sydney to a relaxed lifestyle on Bribie Island.
Coming from a family with various artistic talents as youngster, Gayle loved drawing; unfortunately, her schooling did not include art so it wasn't until 1970 that she started painting.
Her first teacher was Ronald Peters, who was very quickly nicknamed Ronald Two Trees as his landscapes always had two trees in them.
This came to a close after about 12 months due to allergies to the turps and mediums and it wasn't until the late 1980's that she discovered Acrylics and Decorative painting.
At this point, she started spending much time attending as many workshops as possible including travel to the USA to attend HOOT and later SDP Conventions. It has always been her relaxation as well as her passion and she soaked it up like a sponge.
In 1997, they lived in the USA for 12 months working on a new business in Foster City, California, but with a new business Gayle’s art had to be put on hold until they returned home.
Her first love was with oils, their creamy consistency, the open time for blending are just some of the things why she really enjoy painting with them.
She liked Acrylics for their quick drying and being able to float on glazes with the transparent colors, but her real love is the Genesis heat set oils.
They allow you to progress through the painting, correcting what maybe you feel is not quite what you want, heat setting and adjusting your work.
Adding shading and highlights are a dream it is an easy forgiving medium to work with.
Gayle has studied under; Tracey Simms, Ros Singleton, Chris Roy, Lindy Clarkson Judd, Donna Gilbertson, from Australia, overseas artists Johnnie Liliedahl, Ginger Rogers, Linda Coulter, and Lee Hammond are among the few of many.
In 2006 at the SDP Convention she and her friend Bette decided they wanted to take a simple class so they signed up for a class using colored pencils with Lee Hammond.
Lee Hammond was a forensic profiler on Americas Most Wanted but totally, unknown to them and neither of them had used colored pencils since we were youngsters.
It turned out to be a wonderful experience, they painted a Mountain Lion which now proudly hangs in Gayle’s studio office, Gayle say’s “one of the best workshop pieces I have ever done”.
Some of her favorite artists are Johnnie Liliedahl, Mary Kingsland, Lee Hammond and Linda Coulter
Her favorite subjects are right outside of her door, sea scenes, landscapes of white sandy beaches, boats sailing in the passage, the birdlife in her garden, and the beautiful colors of nature. Sounds like paradise!
Her studio is the size of a single garage as well as a nice study. The studio area is where all the messy stuff is done and then Gayle can sit with her OTT light at her desk for the rest of the painting.
Her inspiration comes from nature, where the beautiful colors are there at their best. She often drives around taking numerous photographs in her area of old buildings, houses, barns, boats things that she knows best.
Gayle is an honorary life member of the DFAQ which is the Decorative Folk Art Association of Queensland, the first and only one.
She has also been presented with two certificates for the work she did with them, which she exclaims was such a surprise and honor. Currently she is a member of SDP.
In December 2007, she and her friend Bette hired the Matthew Flinders Gallery on Bribie and held an exhibition called Friends Thru Art which included some of her students at the time. They were pleased with the sales from the exhibition and perhaps will hold another at a later date.
Gayle admits that it took her a long time to stop painting in the tight Decorative Painting style and get back to her fine art. Her advice to artists is to try to stay loose, attend as many workshops on technique that you can and enjoy what you do. Play with paint; learn to understand your color. Learn what you can do with opaques, semi opaques, and transparent colors. Learn how glazing brings out the colors underneath in your paintings, the importance of light and shade and reflected shading and highlights but the most important of all is enjoy what you are doing.
Remember beauty is always at your fingertips.
What does she have planned for the future? “Definitely, portraits, I love them and perhaps a snow scene, as I have never done one”.
Starting next year she will resume teaching a small class at the U3A, University of the third Age where anyone over 50 years may attend. The classes held there include languages, dancing, drama, literature, computer skills, mahjong, there are many classes available. There is a yearly membership fee of $10 then a weekly class fee of $3 for every class you attend, some classes run for an hour, two hours, and three hours, Gayle’s will be a three hour class and it is all volunteer. The instructors do it all for free.
She enjoys it so much because she feels that she is giving something back to the community. She has had a break of 2 years from this teaching but had previously done it for 3 years. It is the second largest U3A in Australia with over 600 active members and run completely by volunteers.
So what does Gayle do in her spare time besides painting? She tells us that she loves to swim, read and boat!
Her work is so unique and especially interesting because of where she lives, here is an artist that paints what she knows and does it beautifully! We wish Gayle much success in the future!
If you would like to contact her here is her email: