There’s a great story in western artists who gave up their first careers getting their hands dirty in the muck of ranching for their second career getting their hands dirty in paint, and Gaile Gallup is one such great story. In fact, he loved getting his hands dirty both ways so much, he did the routine twice.
“I’d been working on ranches since high school and eventually realized, there’s no future for me in ranching for someone else,” says Gaile.
So, at 26 years old, Gaile took a serious leap into his first love for art and attended the Alberta College of Art. For two years.
“I just wanted to paint. I’d go upstairs to watch what the fourth year painters were doing… at the time, you know, we had to take a whole bunch of different classes and though I still had no idea what was really involved in getting to a really great finished painting, I knew there was something that drew me to seek out the painters whose work I really admire.”
But two more years of classes didn’t feel quite true to the path of becoming a great painter… and Gaile returned to ranching. Eventually he and his brothers bought some land and some cows of their own and Gaile spent the better part of the next 20 years devoting himself to the life of a cattleman on his ranch near Longview, Alta. He married Kerri, (with whom he recently celebrated their 22nd anniversary) and they had a son, Trevor, now 19 and a daughter, Lisa-Marie, now 14.
“I always continued painting whenever I had a chance. It was always there. When my brothers and I decided to sell the cows, I was invited to go run another ranch for a fellow… but I just wanted to paint. I thought, ‘I think now’s the time to do it.’
“I think being an artist is another occupation like ranching — you couldn’t ever really get a degree in it because there’s no end to learning how.”
And Gaile means it. He studies copiously, in a self directed apprenticeship learning from books and art and in workshops from artists whose work he admires. He varies his methodology, mixing the practice of creating composite paintings from collections of photographic references and the more immediate method of painting from real life.
“Hopping in my truck and heading out for a landscape painting session helps develop my skill in capturing colour and in working quicker: the living landscape changes fast,” Gaile says.
Gaile’s art is a living testimony to the contemporary cowboy.
He says, “A lot of the western art you see in magazines is still portraying Cowboys and Indians like was done 150 years ago. I’m painting modern history. A hundred years from now, my work will show the way it was in this era; I see no reason to try to do things that have been done over and over and over.”
And, like a true artist, Gaile still struggles with angst.
“Some days you can’t do anything wrong and some days you can’t do anything right.”
To view a sampling and to find out how you can purchase of Gaile’s work, surf to www.gailegallup.com or phone 403-558-2225.