Gail Short, a beloved art teacher to many in Lumby and Vernon, will have her own solo show at the Village Gallery in downtown Lumby during July and August.
An interview with Vernon artist Short proved that artists are not single-minded in the pursuit of their passion but multi-dimensional contributors to their community.
Starting her adult career as a hospital technician at the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital and later raising a family, Short did not gravitate to artistic endeavours — or so she claimed — until middle age. By the by, she had met A.Y. Jackson of the iconic Group of Seven, his sister, and a niece (with whom she skied) growing up.
A friend invited her to take a watercolour course in White Rock, a suburb of Surrey where she lived, an event that changed her path and gained her access to established artists such as Robert Genn.
Her husband’s work eventually took her to Vernon where she became involved in the BC Festival of the Arts in 1992 as the coordinator of 200 volunteers and an advocate for a new art gallery as chair of the Vernon Art Gallery — a course which is still being pursued many years later. She was on the founding committee for the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre and the recreational arena.
She was also a founding member of the North Okanagan Federation of Canadian Artists in the early 1990s.
Short talks of fascinating stories of her friendship with a trifecta of powerful North Okanagan female artists: Sveva Caetani, Frances Hatfield and Joan Heriot. Hatfield advised her to keep painting as it keeps you young. Short paints plein aire every week in spring and summer with 94-year-old watercolour artist Gladys Goode.
As a parent assisting as a teacher’s aide, she developed good insight into teaching others. She still teaches on a regular basis at the Vernon Community Art Centre in Polson Park and privately. She advises her students to see if their paintings read well from 12 feet as that is what juries look for in painting competitions.
She encourages her students to do their own thing, not copy, and be unafraid to make their own mistakes.
As an artist, she has tried every medium and technique associated with 2-D art: acrylic, oil, watercolour, collage, pastels, printmaking, charcoal and graphite drawing. She is inspired by flowers, mountains, beaches, trees and every season in nature.
All can see Short’s show from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday at the Village Gallery, 1975 Vernon Street.