Gwen answered some questions for me about herself, and her work. How long have you been creating your art? I grew up in East Tennessee at the foothills of the majestic Smoky Mountains and I was given the ultimate gift of expressive freedom…I was allowed to draw and paint to my hearts content because my Mother wall papered the hallway of the old farmhouse with plain wallpaper. For years, my mother re-papered the hallway each week, later regretting the loss of those early works.
I guess it is safe to say I have been drawing and painting forever. I must admit I was not able to take my art seriously until after my children were grown and I was settled in a new life with a new husband……I was around fifty years old.
Why did you choose your particular medium?
I would have to say the medium chose me. I get bored very easily and tried many mediums…..watercolor, acrylics, encaustics, collage and oil. I am mainly using oil now as I love the way it caresses the canvas. The texture of the oil is a fit for me and it allows for fabulous glazing.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have had many one woman shows, shown in New York and selected to show with His Royal Highness Prince Phillip in England ……however my greatest achievement is instilling in my students ( mostly women) their importance in the world and that their creativity is a gift to be shared. Giving them permission to go forth with their passion and make it their own. When our children see Mom following her dream it gives them permission to follow theirs. It becomes normal. This is especially important for our daughters. Watching my students leave the workshop or event with a new mindset about their abilities is my gift to them. It is my job as an instructor to take my students to higher level in their art and their belief in themselves.
What Awards have you won?
I have won many awards and am fortunate to be in many corporate collections.
Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, New York
Austin Cellars of California for their wine label
Rocky Mountain National
Taylor Museum, Colorado
Book cover for “Painting with Color”
Inclusion in books,”Best of Flowers”, “Best of Watercolor
Selected for “Who’s Who in the West”, Who’s Who in Business Women”, “Who’s Who in America”
International CD ” The Best of Contemporary Art”
Do you have a funny story related to your work?
When I was living in England during my thirties I was asked to teach a workshop in a local village. The workshops were held in a very large old Manor house where the students lived for the duration of the workshops. There were two workshops being held at the time I was teaching. The other workshop was a music workshop. Each evening we would gather before dinner in the massive library to meet and have a glass of sherry. The instructor of the music workshop was a rather “proper” older man of English linage. The first evening of the workshops I went up to him to introduce myself and he made a derogatory remark about my assuming I could speak to him as he was the workshop teacher. I smiled and left it at that but when the instructors were introduced that evening after dinner he was rather embarrassed to see me stand as the other instructor. He later apologized for his statement and rudeness. He said it never dawned on him that a young woman could be the workshop teacher. I was happy to be the one to expand his horizons about women instructors.
Are you working on something new?
Actually I am…..I am designing jewelry. I have been collecting beads for many years and have finally decided to do something with them. I love designing and working with beads that come from all over the world. This has deep meaning for me. I now have two galleries representing my jewelry. Each piece is an original.
I am also working on a new style of painting and this is exciting. Sometimes we forget as artist the importance of PLAY. Play opens another world for us to love.
Please visit Gwen’s websites for more images of her work, and information on her workshops. http://www.gwenfox.com http://www.petportraitsbyfox.com