Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be an artist? Sometimes I do. How do they turn emotions into artwork? Is communicating with creativity more an inherited gift or is it a mastered skill? Where do their ideas and inspirations come from? Yesterday I decided I’d pick up the phone and ask an artist who lives right here in Barrington. I was nervous, but as I held my breath, Lake Barrington colored pencil expert, Gail Collier picked up the phone. She was gracious, offered me her time and actually agreed to meet me in one of the places which inspires her most. You’ll never believe where it is.
It’s the produce department! Whether it’s at the Jewel, Dominics, Whole Foods or Seasons Produce Market in South Barrington, it’s so cool that so much of Gail’s beautiful artwork is inspired by a place that we all frequent.
While I rush through, filling plastic bags with the things on our grocery list, Gail lingers, trying not to look “too eccentric”. She says, “Sometimes I think the managers wonder what this lady is doing wandering around.” Don’t you love her already?
Gail and her husband, Joe, have lived in Barrington for almost 30 years. They raised their twins here and also have a family home in Maine. Gail creates her works at her home studio in Lake Barrington. She starts with a black and white sketch and then out come the colors. She has thousands of colored pencils and it takes layer upon layer of color before her works are complete. The result is stunning.
Gail’s surrealistic fruits and veggies are bursting with color and suspended in space. Her ideas begin in the palm of her hand and she has a way of making paper look edible. She says, “I love drawing fruit, arranging it in different ways, experimenting with color and changing the color of the fruit. I enjoy the tactile sense of setting up the still lifes. Sometimes it takes me several hours to come up with a composition that I like.” She often hangs the fruits and vegetables with strings to create the effects that are characteristic of her work. Gail sells a lot of her artwork to clients here in Barrington and at galleries in Maine where tourists particularly love her illustrations of blueberries, rocks and driftwood.
In Gail’s case, her talents are part nature and part nurture. Her father was a painter and her grandfather was a portrait artist. But Gail has also spent her life perfecting her gift for graphite with years of drawing classes, workshops and graduate school. If you would like to learn more about Gail Collier, she is the latest on Quintessential Barrington Magazine’s list of “Quintessential People” and she’s featured in the magazine’s most recent issue. It’s a great article which you’ll find by clicking HERE.
Gail’s works will be on display during next weekend’s Art Festival at Musée Fine Art Gallery and Market. In fact, stop by the gallery at 110 East Main Street in Barrington any time to see her art. You can also peruse Gail’s art at her website, GailCollier.com. The price for her original artwork ranges from $150 to $3,000, but you can also purchase reproductions for less. Gail’s illustrations are a great way to enhance your home art collection with color, sophistication and a splash of home grown flavor.