Gail L Frailey is a writer and an artist. She has actively pursued her career as an artist and currently dabbles in creative writing and painting ceramics.
Let’s hear her inspiring journey in her words!
Please Describe Gail L Frailey:
Answer: I am the wife of a retired, disabled Vet; a mom; a grandmother; a cancer survivor; a bit old fashioned to many; a Christian; retired (finally); and a true a believer that life is too short, so enjoy every minute.
In 2002 there was a significant change in my vision. I was told I had Astigmatism and got glasses. At around that time there were other things going on in my life that distracted from my business and career in stained glass. My folks passed away, we moved to Florida, life happened and my vision worsened but nobody could say why. In 2007 I was finally diagnosed with a Meningioma Tumor behind my left eye’s optic nerve and one started in my right.
The damage left me with permanent impairments where I can no longer drive and my profession in stained and leaded glass virtually ended. So, after discovering a ceramic shop in the local area and close to home; I found I could still paint!
Although some of the Santa’s I found were quite detailed and my depth perception caused many, ‘oops’ issues with the paint brushes, I adapted with using toothpicks and such. As I became more accomplished at the art and with the guidance of Pat Williams, the owner of the Seagull Ceramic shop; I actually entered some pieces into the local Ceramic Guild show in Orlando and was awarded ribbons for my amateur works! I’ve not sold anything, but I can now say I have reached a point where my work is no longer considered just ‘hobbyist’ but borderlines another level! I actually received multiple awards on one of my pieces pictured here in the last show held this last February of 2018.
In any event, I shall continue learning the art and learning more techniques to use in the art for as long as my eyes will let me!
With regards to the stories in my book, THE NEVER BEFORE FOUND CHRONICLES OF SANTA, and the painted Santa’s; here are some photos – although not the best renditions; show a bit of my craft:
The Santa on the horse with the wreathe, that one was the first I did for ahorse-crazy grandkid.
The photo of Santa with all the bears was for another grandkid and was influenced by an old stuffed bear that had belonged to my youngest son. So the story included that little item.
The shot where I’m holding a Santa with a wolf peeking around his side was done for a brother’s son but included other family members as well. Its story included ancestral history and research.
Lastly, the one of Santa with a Fox was in honor of my older sister and a family friend who is Japanese and was influenced by some Japanese folklore.
All of the stories in my collection pretty much reflect the environments I grew up in, ancestry, history, a lot of research into folklore and above all, Saint Nicholas. Not just influenced by ceramic Santa’s, but also by just good, clean fun in creating a story for people I love. Will the stories stop here? I don’t know. All I know is there is still a lot of ceramic Santa’s waiting to be painted on those shelves. Who knows?
2. Please Describe your art and skills:
Answer: I’ve actively pursued a career as an artist. I owned a stained glass business where I designed and fabricated custom windows; used graphic design and marketing skills for several business firms I worked for in my earlier employment days; and am currently retired and painting ceramics; have dabbled in creative writing and am currently in the process of publishing a collection of Santa stories in a book called, THE NEVER BEFORE FOUND CHRONICLES OF SANTA.
3. What inspired to you to pursue your passion?
Answer: I discovered the ceramic shop some time back and the owner carried an entire line of ceramic Santa’s: some representing each U.S. state, others just traditional versions, and various other concepts to appeal to the young, old, and in-betweeners. I was enamoured with them and the first one I made was for a grandkid who loved horses. It was a piece following an Irish theme. I accidentally broke off the leg of the horse Santa was riding – repaired it, and was going to get it ready to ship out in time for Christmas. But, I awoke in the night and scribbled down a story to go with that gift. Thus was born the drive to paint a Santa-themed ceramic for every grandchild, with a story to go with it. Then, I did them for some of my grand nieces and grand nephews, and for others!
4. What are the difficulties you faced and how did you overcome them?
Answer: My stories are not of the traditional jolly old elf vintage. I tried to model my Santa more in line with Saint Nicholas. As I was trying to get the short stories published, I realized quite quickly that publishing wasn’t like it used to be. So, I joined a writer’s group for their support and critiques; became a founding member to another group specifically for children’s story writers; The PenIt Group in Dunedin, Florida; read and researched about publishing and became a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for networking; and made efforts to find an agent. No joy. I was advised that perhaps putting the stories into a collection would make them more appealing to a publisher. That is what I did.
5. Your message to the audience/beginners?
Answer: Never give up your dream. Don’t take, ‘no’ for an answer. Find a way around the objections…you will learn the nay-say’s will actually help you become better! Find the right people to help you and find a fit for yourself. There are so many opportunities out there, you just have to find them and make them your own! Be stubborn, be flexible, find your goal!
6. Where can the people find you?
LinkedIn: Gail Frailey
My email id: email@example.com
Thank you, Gail L Frailey, for taking the time to participate in our weekly column “Artist of the Week“.
Best wishes from Phonic Words for your future endeavours.
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