On any given day at the Ladysmith Waterfront Art Gallery, you will find Gail Ralphs either in her studio space working diligently on her latest piece, managing the gift shop in the gallery, assisting on the board of directors, teaching classes or doing just about anything to support the non-profit organization.
Workhorse extraordinaire Ralph is one of the key people that keeps things moving in a positive direction at the Ladysmith Arts Council (LAC) — and she does it all with a smile and a joke. She is vital to keeping things on track and rallying the troops when things need to get done.
“I’ve always been creative and interested in painting since I was a child, but I really got into the arts world about six years ago,” Ralphs explains.
It was after retirement that she took an art class in Victoria and was inspired to begin a self-directed path of expressing the visions within her.
Her work is informed by the world of her ancestry, the Celts, the old world, history and nature.
Her favourite period is the Pre-Raphaelite period that is known for intense colour, abundant detail and complex, rich compositions. Her favourite artist is the renowned 1800s painter John Waterhouse, who combines mythology, poetry and mystique into works that are soulfully touching.
Ralphs’s paintings also transport you back in time to a world where fairies, knights, damsels, angels, mermaids and other magical creatures lived in the local lore.
Ralphs is a prolific artist, and entering her studio brings you to a magical realm of fascination and delight.
The use of vibrant colour conveys the aliveness of her detailed work. She brings her images to life using a multitude of mediums — watercolour, encaustic wax, acrylic, oil and pastel.
Ralphs has an affinity with crows and ravens, and like those birds, she loves “shiny things” and often incorporates such found objects into her work. Thus, her art is often three-dimensional.
Like the crow trickster, Ralphs has a way of teasing the viewer with her work, making one wonder if there is perhaps a little magic invoked with each piece she produces.
Just a peek into her studio space and one sees the corners of the grimmest mouth turn up in no time. It is with this joy that Ralphs offers her work to the community.
Her art is moderately priced and affordable and can be purchased at the Ladysmith Waterfront Art Gallery. Ralphs exhibits monthly at the LAC shows as well.
In addition, her work will be showcased with other LAC artist at the upcoming Arts on the Avenue in Ladysmith on Aug. 26.
Once there, please check out the rest of the local art available and enjoy the food and entertainment as well.
You’ll find a breadth of artistic sensibilities being offered up for your pleasure — pottery, jewelry, glassware, photography, carvings, metal works, fabric arts and much more.
Meet the artists and your neighbours and enjoy a day on the town!
For more information about Arts on the Avenue, click here.