Gail Spurlock

Artist in Residence

December 2021, April 2022

Art can enchant, amuse, delight, soothe, inspire and challenge.  I think the highest and best purpose of art is to stretch the soul, with raw beauty, to expand one’s existence beyond one’s personal experience.   This is true for both the artist and the viewer.  Each painting is a journey we take together at different times and places.

My goal as an artist is to meet the various needs of the individual in any circumstance and at any stage of life.  That means mastering the ability to create a wide variety of paintings from still lives, landscapes, city scapes and industry scapes to portraits and religious and historical paintings.

My next objective is to resurrect classically designed group and family portraits.  With the advent of the camera, the composition of portraits has been minimized to suit the camera format; a group of people all crammed together with big “say cheese” smiles.  Such photographic portraits have great worth as memorabilia and for familial history but forfeit most principles of great art.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be a great artist, but with the application of classical, time proven, design and composition principles, I can create great art.  It has already been invented.  Now it only needs to be translated to a new era, a new culture and a new environment.  The idea is to capture both the essence of the group or family along with the individual character of each member in the context of modern life.

Following are web links to a variety of the greatest group portraits from history:

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit - John Singer Sargent – 1882

The Glass Blowers - Charles Ulrich – 1883

The Night Watch - Rembrandt van Rijn – 1642
Oath of the Horatii - Jacques-Luis David, 1784
Las Meninas – Diego Velazsquez – 1656
Women in the Garden - Claude Monet – 1866
Rehearsal - Edgar Degas – 1897
The stories represented by these artworks are best understood framed by history.  Yet, the paintings remain relevant and compelling today because they exhibit a level of artistic quality that has yet to be surpassed and seldom equaled.

I think that is a worthy endeavor.  Otherwise, our time will be defined by television, movies and news, most of which attempt to influence real life rather than represent it with honesty and dignity. 

What is your story?  It is worth painting, preserving and even savoring.

-Gail Spurlock