News and events Blogs I am transported into a paradise when I’m painting: Art is so therapeutic Despite the regular pain she endures through arthritis in her spine, Gayle pursues her love of painting with a passion and her enthusiasm is infectious! Due to ill health, Gayle retired early aged only 50, she didn’t know then that her love of painting would take her life and career path in a completely new direction. Having taken some paintings to her son’s workplace, she received much praise and her son encouraged her to look into studying art formally. Having left school aged 15, Gayle was very apprehensive about studying, never mind taking a GCSE in Art, but she took the plunge gaining a Grade B no less! With a new found confidence, she went on to study at A Level and then at Gateshead College, graduating in 2011. She planned to continue on to a foundation course but this wasn’t meant to be. So she did her own thing instead! When asked what type of painting and art she does, Gayle said “my own out of the box style. I find inspiration in so many things and then take it to a different level.” My husband Gerry is a session drummer and musician and when I saw his broken electric guitar, I studied the inside of it and was fascinated by its flaws and parts and so painted that. Gayle and Gerry share a bungalow full of her paintings and artworks, from the hallway and music room to the outhouse! The paintings follow a bit of a theme in each room. Last Christmas, Gayle injured her right arm in a fall, which took 6 months to get better. She didn’t let that stop her painting though and started using her left hand and found that her artistic talent extended into that arm too! From her studio in their large bedroom, Gayle likes to work on large canvasses and card. It took her about 4 years to figure out what she preferred to paint, portraits of faces not being one of them! Gayle works mainly in acrylics, but sometimes uses ink and charcoal and combinations of mediums. Her subjects have included cowboy hats, cocktail glasses and retro belts (1960’s) to name but a few studies. Occasionally she uses watercolours and recently has experimented painting nature including a cherry tree. The local church asked if she would paint the 4 seasons (Gayle style!) and she happily donated this study to them as a fundraiser, raising £100 for the church funds. During lockdown, Gayle has found so much joy in painting objects found in and around the house, inside and out and following our chat, she was planning to gather together some leaves, wood and other items that catch her eye, for another charcoal study this afternoon. She can complete two charcoal drawings a week. Gayle is such an inspiration in her sunny and positive approach to life; trying new things and persevering with her goals, regardless of any pain she may be in. Luckily, Gerry is always on hand to remind her to take regular breaks from her painting throughout the day and to move around a bit to avoid stiffening up allowing the arthritis to take hold. Perhaps, reading this, you may be wondering if you could try something new or to go back into education – why not give it a go! We could all definitely take a leaf out of Gayle’s book...or painting!