G’day viewers, my name’s Graeme Stevenson, and I’d like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family throughout the world. Lots of times there’s an artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best artists do what they do. (Music Plays) (Graeme) Well hi folks, and welcome back to Colour In Your Life. Well we are back in America and we’re in Los Angeles, and we’re in the beautiful home of an amazing lady who has had an incredible life. Gayle Garner Roski, welcome to Colour In Your Life. (Gayle) Thank you. (Graeme) It’s a pleasure to be in your home. Gayle’s actually a watercolour artist, and really focuses a lot on the Los Angeles area, but when you see the huge amount of work that she’s actually done in her travels around the world. And when you step inside Gayle’s home and you see the history of her and her fabulous husband Ed, you literally have a myriad of adventures that you can’t possibly even describe them. Your life as an adventurer and an artist, I mean how do you sort of combine that together? (Gayle) Oh, I think life is an adventure (Graeme) Aha. (Gayle) and I think art is part of it. But I will tell you that when I get involved with adventure and it becomes too hard for me, I take out my paints and do a little plein air painting (Graeme) Okay. (Gayle) and it calms me down immediately. Now I have a husband that often times says to me, he says “Oh this climb up this mountain is only a couple of hours.” And it becomes seven. And then I get a little bit angry and then he says, “Get out your paints. There’s a nice river or something, sit down and paint.” And it just calms me down. (Graeme) That’s fantastic. And your art really is a journey of life. I mean what we’re going to be doing today, is we’re going to be watching Gayle actually work on a painting that she’s doing of one of the many books that she’s done. And this is about Polynesian navigation. (Gayle) Right. (Graeme) across the world and we’re going to be working on one piece on that today. But there are so many things you can say about Gayle and the journey – we’re going to go through that. I mean you could be here for days trying to put this together. But I’m going to step out of shot, and then we’re going to let you take over with what you do. And honestly you are going to have an absolutely fascinating journey with this lady, so come along for the ride. (Graeme) Okay, Gayle, well you have already made a start on one of the pieces there, the Polynesian navigation book that you’re doing. Where do we go through from here? I mean what techniques are you actually going to be using today? (Gayle) Well I did a wash all over, so I wet all of this three hundred pound paper. And I use hot press, and the reason is I can control it better and for publishing they prefer it. Also, you might want to know that this paper is one and a half times the size of the book. I did, I started out with doubling it, but it was way too much painting to do. So I’ve done one and a half times because it reduces down and looks much better. Okay, so then I did a total wash with, of this paper. Of course the brush that I use is this, I don’t know what they’re called, Hake maybe brush and wet it all down. And then I took several colours of blue and put them together, and lavender. And I use these old things that I did my eye medicine from because they just work great as a colour thing for background – especially blue. Okay, then to get this light behind the boat and of course this is looking from the bottom of the ocean up, and so the sun is somewhere, or the sun is right here. And so then I take this Kleenex and absolutely took the paint off while it was wet. Before I did that I couldn’t resist down on the areas that I wanted the fish. But the problem with this resist which I don’t use too often, which is kind of a gluey substance that will allow the paint to go smoothly in a wash, but isn’t very it isn’t directly perfect. Therefore for this book I’m using white, and I prefer the blue bleed proof white, which is, this is Doctor Martin’s. And then I have some gouache, and these are, this is gouache that’s made in Japan. I don’t even know the name because on the paper it’s all in Japanese. (Graeme) Doesn’t help does it? (Gayle) I don’t read Japanese. So, and then I start in and I’ve got a few sharks and a few Monterey’s to do, and the boat which I have only drawn you know, a little bit of an outline. This is you know, a very primitive boat that they would have made out of a tree, in the primitive way of making a boat. Because we’re talking about thousands of years ago, and they had no nails or anything, so they would make a boat out of a tree or many, and it would be very rough and they would only be interested in the fact that it would not allow the water to come in. Oh, you know what, I’ve got a great trick to tell you. This is a baster for cooking, and I found that if I used this to transport my water into my paint, it is so much easier than using your brush (Graeme) Aha. (Gayle) Or a bottle, a spray bottle. (Graeme) Sure. (Gayle) And you can get these in different sizes. But this size is really good. This is an actual meat… and if I want to do a large thing I will put the water in there (Graeme) That’s a great idea. (Graeme) you know, and I don’t think anybody’s ever thought of that. (Graeme) No, no, that’s a fantastic idea. (Gayle) Yeah, so that’s really something, and you can get those on the internet easy, even if you don’t cook. So then I’m going to use some yellow because I always start with the lighter colour first. (Graeme) I think one of the amazing parts about just you painting this painting at the moment is the fact that you’ve dived. You’ve even dived with with Val and Ron Taylor from Australia. But one thing I thought was extremely extraordinary, is that you said you were one of the very few people that’s been down to the Titanic in the Miri submersible. That’s amazing. There’s less people have done that than gone to the moon, so I’ve heard. (Gayle) First of all, I’m married to an adventurer, and he usually uses my birthday as a way of getting me to do these things. (Graeme) Oh, okay. (Gayle) So he said, “Because it’s your birthday, I’m going to take you down to the Titanic (Graeme) Oh my goodness. (Gayle) on the Submersible, the Miri. The Miri is a six round sphere that is, three people are in it. And we were there for twelve hours. And I thought how am I going to handle this? Well I decided that I was going to paint my whole way down, and my whole way back, and that’s exactly what I did. So I did a sketch book, that is on my website. (Graeme) Yeah. (Gayle) And as a diver for some people it’s claustrophobic, but it was really fun. What was interesting about it to me? I, as a diver, thought that past sixty feet there were no colours. And that’s what I’d always been told – that the fish would have no colours. Well, they do have colour; there was colour. (Graeme) It’s just an amazing, it’s a incredible thing to actually do. But the fact that you painted all the way down, and all the way back again. (Gayle) I paint anytime, (Graeme) Yeah. (Gayle) every time that I get a little bit nervous I paint. (Graeme) That’s great. (Gayle) Painting is a kind of meditation for me. It’s where I want to be in my life. It’s really so much more than just creating a picture, it’s a faith and religion. It’s everything, but its meditation. (Graeme) So do you use the gouache a lot to overlay an lot of the watercolour that you do? (Gayle) Not a lot. Just in books because it’s different, but mostly I’m trying to use transparent watercolour in most of my work. (Graeme) I think when I look at your work and just the history, and the journey that you’ve taken. It really is a lot about the travels that you’ve had across the world. I love the Cheyenne Dolls, and the fantastic story that goes with them as well. (Gayle) I love spiritual things, and Cheyenne Dolls is the Hopi Indians. Men make the dolls for the little girls, and they make them two of them a year to teach them about the connection between the spiritual world and the real world. And also about the harvest and rain – rain is really important. The other tribes make them too, but the Hopi is well known for them for a very long time. (Graeme) Okay, Gayle, well you’ve started on the monterey in the top corner, and I think the thing that you would notice about this particular piece is there’s a fast empty area in the middle of the painting that you’re working on. And it’s for the book Earth Waves, and the reason being is that’s where the text has to go. (Gayle) Yes, it has to go in the middle, therefore I have to use the outsides unlike any other painting. (Graeme) You’ve got five books illustrated and put out for publication. What’s the motivation for the books? (Gayle) You know, magic happens. I was at China Town many years ago, and I met this couple I see in Mike Smith, who own East West Discovery Press. And they asked me they said, “Have you thought of illustrating children’s books?” And I said no, first place is I’ve never thought about it, and second place I’ve never taken a class in it. Well, they said, “Would you like to try?” And you know what? I said that would be really a good challenge. So the first book was Mei Ling in China City. (Graeme) I also wanted to talk about with obviously the extensive travels that you and Ed have had, is that the paintings that you do, there’s some of them, there’s one that’s called Zulu Baskets, and there’s also another one called the Chinese Dragon. Because of the amazing collection that you and Ed have been able to put together in the fifty-five wonderful years that you’ve been with each other, is that you’ve got you’re actually putting the actual Zulu baskets in with the paintings themselves. Even with the Chinese ones that you did with the brushes, I mean the whole combination of it is just magnificent. There’s such a fantastic story there. (Gayle) Well it came to me as I’m a collector that what about if people were able to touch the painting. And so having a collection and being able to put it onto the frame is a unique idea, and one that I could make happen. The Chinese calligraphy brushes were my first try at it. I had purchased these calligraphy brushes at the Beijing flee market, and I just love them. And then I thought, well what about if I put them on the painting, and in the painting. So I did that for show for East West Bank and that was up for about a year. (Graeme) And you were also the curator for twenty years of the Los Angeles Cathedral Art event. (Gayle) I do the other side of art. I’ve done several large art projects, public art, and I was lucky enough to be asked when the Cardinal was going to build the new Cathedral twenty years ago now, to be part of the art committee to choose the artist for the LA Cathedral. You know, I do a lot of different things, anything that really interests me. This year I did a stained glass rose window for a Catholic Church, and loved the process of it. So I just keep moving and doing interesting things whether it takes me a distance away or not. (Graeme) You also have the Roski School of Art School and Design named after you. It doesn’t get much better than that really does it? (Gayle) It’s a wonderful art school. It was just declared design wise, it’s the second in the country, (Graeme) Wow. (Gayle) and art wise it’s the fifth – and that just came out this week. (Graeme) That’s fantastic, absolutely. So the California Art Club – you are a Signature member. (Gayle) Aha, I am. It is the oldest art club in, well in California it is. It was founded by William Went and Guy Rose. Its focus is traditional art and plein air is a part of that. It’s so much fun to do plein air art with other plein air artists. Going out and trying to capture an area; it’s just a wonderful group. They have a Gold Medal Show every year of which the best art gets in. They’ve done two book now on… they have a new one coming out on the coastline, the California coastline. (Graeme) So your work is incredibly detailed in many ways, apart from all of the other things that you do. But there was sone that I thought was quite humorous, and it’s a picture of the Mona Lisa with the title Mona Who, and everybody seems to have a cell phone in their hand. Tell me a little about that? (Gayle) Well I was in Paris and I went to the Louvre, and I was shocked to see all of these people with their cell phones taking their own picture with the Mona Lisa. And I mean, this wasn’t one or two people, this was three hundred people at least. So I thought well, I think it deserves a painting. To do a painting of the Mona Lisa being of today, (Graeme) Yeah. (Gayle) and that is what that’s about. American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown last year, and when I was at San Aneta, the same thing happened – the people were all taking cell phones of themselves with American Pharaoh in the background. So that’s where it started from. Then, in the United States, the Pope came and on television and the news I saw the Pope, instead of having his ring kissed or blessing, or people asking for the blessing, they were doing, you know, doing their cell phone. And I thought wow, is that a sign of the times? You know, in my generation, that never would have happened (Graeme) Yeah. (Gayle) and so I thought I had to paint it. (Graeme) You’ve painted a number of horses across the time. You obviously enjoy doing those as well? (Gayle) I love to paint horses and I’ve painted a lot for the different races tracks. But I’ve also painted for the Autry Museum and did horses for them. Horses are just… they have personalities and they’re wonderful. (Graeme) They are magnificent animals. Now Gayle, if anybody wants to see all of your amazing artwork and the books that you’ve published, and I would really recommend people going in and just looking at the adventures life that this woman has had. Because it really is quite extraordinary the things that she’s done, and still doing them to this day. What is your website address? (Gayle) My website is Gayle Garner Roski dot com. (Graeme) So my suggestion would be to pop into Gayle’s website, and sign up for her social media network just to see what this lady is doing, because it really is an ongoing adventure, and her work really is changing all the time. She has new ideas and just the places that she goes to, and the things that she does I think are pretty fascinating, and paints all of that as she goes along. So I would suggest that you go in and have a look at what she’s up to. So tell me a bit more about the LA Millennium Series you did in Los Angeles in two thousand, because I think it’s a very important collection that you have in your home, and it’s a magnificent collection too. (Gayle) I am a native of Los Angeles; I love my city. I was asked to do this series for the art building down in downtown Los Angeles. I started out with celebration with the city hall and fireworks. And then I worked on the things that I was the most interested in my life in my city. My husband built Staples Centre, so I did Staples Centre. I love the LA Library; I love the buildings of Los Angeles. I did China Town, I did Japanese Town. We are a very diverse city, and I love every bit of it. I am still doing the LA series, and it’s been seventeen years and I’ve done twenty-five. And hopefully by twenty-twenty I will have finished all that I wanted to do of it, and do a book of it, so that’s my goal. I do prints of it, and I have some originals so its fun. (Graeme) That’s an amazing story, absolutely. (Graeme) So it’s been a fantastic day with you today, Gayle. I mean your stories are amazing and to the extent that here we are in Los Angles, and you actually own Frank Sinatra’s regal old home which is now yours. (Gayle) Right, well the history of this house which was in the Purple Diaries, that was written last year. Is about Mary Astor, and her diaries that she wrote. And most of it has to do with this house. And then Frank Sinatra and Nancy brought it and raised their children here. And then Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee bought it, and we brought it from them in 1969. And I have been here for nearly fifty years, and we’ll never loose, never move. And I love this home. (Graeme) It’s a fantastic and beautiful, beautiful home; there’s no two ways about it. (Gayle) Yeah. It is. Thank you for that. (Gayle) Thank you. (Graeme) Okay guys, well we have had an absolutely fantastic day with an amazing woman. Your journey of life has been quite extraordinary. And just going going through Gayle’s home and the seeing the places you’ve been, and things you’ve done, which is a reflection of your work and who you are as a human being has been absolutely fascinating. So thank you so much (Gayle) Thank you. (Graeme) for having us in your beautiful home. We had an amazing time. And wasn’t so much of a show of techniques I don’t think, I think for for me anyway, particularly with Gayle, it was about a journey of a very fascinating human being, that makes fantastically beautiful art all over the world, (Gayle) Thank you. (Graeme) and expresses it in a way that I haven’t seen before, which I think is just wonderful. Your website address again is? (Gayle) Gayle Garner Roski dot com. (Graeme) We’ll get that right underneath, don’t worry about that. And also, come in and see us on our social networking, because I can assure you that Gayle will be up for a long time. I’d very much like to follow your travels anyway, because I know that you’re going to be going somewhere else, and you’re going to be painting when you go there for a start. (Gayle) Yes, always. (Graeme) I think it would be fantastic. YouTube as well of course, and come and see us at colour in your life dot com dot au. It has been a pleasure. Original LA girl, and this is your home and it’s a fantastic place to be. But we’ve had a great time and until we see you guys again – remember: make sure you put some colour in your life, and thank you. See you again, guys. Bye now.