(come paint with me)
Gayle Stratford
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Artistic Philosophy


As far back as I can remember I wanted to draw or paint people. The human form, especially in a classical rendition, is so beautiful and interesting – the masterpiece of all of God’s creations.  In my paintings I love to make the light and atmosphere flow in, out and around faces, bodies and objects and arrange the subjects within an abstract design concept using a variety of values, shapes, colors, and textures. Creating a fusion of classical representational form and abstract compositional elements to create a new work of art is exhilarating. It almost feels like I’m bringing a new life into the world.




Every artist needs to be true to the unique artistic compass within and find his or her own destiny.  However, it is also said that in whatever our accomplishments may be, we all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before.  I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge those that have had the most impact on my professional career.  Years ago, I was fortunate enough to discover Fred Fixler, a master teacher who later founded the California Art Institute.  He was an exacting and demanding perfectionist who taught me the drawing skills he learned at the feet of great American artists, tracing their “genealogy” from Frank Reilly back to Howard Pyle.  I feel blessed to have studied with him for three years.


David Leffel is the oil painting teacher that has had the greatest impact on my painting skills.  He has often been referred to as a modern-day Rembrandt because of the depth and radiance of his paintings and is truly one of the greatest artists of our time.  I have had multiple opportunities to paint in his classes while he expanded my understanding of light, atmosphere and texture that are so essential to giving life to the canvas.


 Other artists with whom I have studied through workshops include Ray Kinstler, Daniel Greene, Nelson Shanks, Sherrie McGraw, Peggy Baumgartner, Tony Van Haslet and Robert Watts.  Their influences are gratefully acknowledged.


Personal History


I was born Washington D. C., but grew up in Southern California.  One of my first memories of being an artist was in second grade when the teacher assigned the class to copy a picture of Santa Claus.  I was surprised when a crowd of students gathered around my desk to admire my drawing.  They were calling me an ‘artist’!  It was the first time I realized I could do something that many people could not do.  I went on to win awards throughout school including a high school scholarship for a figure drawing at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.  This is where I was introduced to the thrill of working from a live model.  Even before that, my favorite drawing activity as a child was to copy the wonderful fashion drawings from the newspapers.  I am fascinated by the human figure and they continue to dominate my works now.


I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from BYU and completed three years of art school at Brandeis Art Institute under Fred Fixler.  My professional career was temporarily put on hold while I raised five wonderful children with my husband Scott. They were enjoyable but wild years -- a blur of activities.  I had studied dance and music for most of my life and since my children were very ambitious in the areas of dance, music, and theatre, it was easier for me to ‘go with the flow’.  I found myself painting scenery, choreographing dance segments, playing in orchestras with them and squeezing in an art workshop here and there.  As I continued to study and learn along with my children, I felt like I was studying art and design as well. I found that art, music and dance, especially in the compositional aspects, meld into one pervasive medium. Now, after resuming my art career, I am excited to awake every morning eager for the opportunity to paint !




American Artist July/August 2010, “Winners of the 2010 Cover Competition”

Art of the Portrait - Journal of the Portrait Society of America 2009 Vol. XI #45

Art of the Portrait - Journal of the Portrait Society of America 2008 Vol. X  #42

Ensign magazine vol. 16


Shows & Awards



Associated Artists
     2012  Annual Show
     2009  Annual Show
     2008  Annual Show
     2007  Annual Show
Best of Show
First Place - Oil Painting
Best of Show,  First Place Oil Painting
People's Choice
Portrait Society of America
     2009  Member Showcase
     2008  Member Showcase
Honorable Mention
Third Place
Oil Painters of America
     2013  Salon Show
     2012  National Show
     2011  National Show
     2011  Western Regional Show
     2011  Online Show
     2009  Western Regional Show
     2008  Wester Regional Show
Honorable Mention
Richeson75 International
     2008  Small Works Show
     2007  Figure/Portrait Show
First Place Drawing
Salon International
     2012  Annual Show
     2010  Annual Show
Top 50 Jurors Award
Scottsdale Salon of Fine Artl
     2012  Legacy Gallery Annual Show
Chaffey Community Art Association
     2009  Gold Show
     2008  Annual Show
     2007  Annual Show
Best of Show
Second Place Oil Painting, Second Place Drawing
First Place Drawing
California Art Club
     2012  Summer Escape Show
     2012  Art Between the Lines: Unthemed
     2011  Landscapes of California Show
     2011  Asian Pacific Show
     2010  Magnificent Minatures Show
L&P Expo Show
     2009  Pasadena Show
     2006  Burbank Show
Grand Prize
First Place    
Shows & Awards