Gail Dennis lives in Holden, MA in the US and is known for starting all sorts of inspiring conversations in the SkoolYard!
Interview with Spotlight Student Gail Dennies
Q: Gail, give us a picture of your day and how you spend your time. When do you create?
A: My time is my own now that I retired from hairdressing but I find that I still have to manage it. I sketch at different times each day and SBS has helped me to put aside time every day to sketch something.
I have an adult son on the Autism spectrum living with us that requires some care. He is high functioning and works full-time. His name is Tracy and he loves to draw like his mom. One of his pieces ended up in an art show! How cool is that? I guess you could call me a Jane-of-all-trades.
I also take care of a gorgeous Pomeranian for a friend each month (which keeps me from missing my two poms that I lost recently). If the weather is bad, I head over to my favorite place to sketch weekly, Barnes and Noble. It’s a great place to find interesting things to draw, especially people. That’s usually where I enjoy doing Draw With Me sessions with Danny!
Q: How did your creative journey start?
A: It all started with my son Tracy. He loves architecture so I wanted to get him interested in something to do in his spare time so we started drawing together. He asked for help drawing houses so we started studying Victorian style houses.
I was 62 at the time and the extent of my drawing experience was stick people but I had to persevere for his sake so I drew my very first house. Never had a lesson in my life but I was determined to help Tracy so I stuck it out even though my first house was a disaster.
Q: What has your creative practice taught you?
A: I’ve learned so many things since that first drawing. One is that I can draw whatever I want but I have to practice, practice, practice. That’s the tough part for me since I tend to want to see instant results. The idea of practicing many windows, doors, carved wood work on houses and buildings was not something I wanted to do at first. But I forced myself to do just that as well as thumbnails even though they seemed like a pain. And now, I am able to do so much more in my drawing!
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a brand new artist or someone who’s just recently joined SBS, what would it be?**
A: Don’t be afraid to try new forms of art and get out of your comfort zone. I’m taking the Be an iPad Artist kourse in hopes of learning digital art. I never considered it before because I always felt that digitally-made art looked too perfect as it lacked that hand drawn look and feel. Now that I’m trying it for myself, I see how wrong I was.
I just finished my selfie (used as article cover photo) and I never thought I could do something like this. So even though analog will always be my go-to approach for my art, there is now a place in my world for digital art too!
It’s been fabulous to see Gail’s creativity evolve as she adds more tools to her art toolbox!