Water colours with Jeffrey Gale

Jeffry Gale is a curious fellow that I knew. Many years ago, I used to go painting with him every Sunday morning. He is a water colour painter and his works are displayed on the walls of vegetarian restaurants in Totnes as well as the on the walls of palaces of Himalayan Maharajas.

He has an interesting background. Trained as an architect he decided to pursue his passion in water colour painting. From his style he was heavily influenced by J. M. W. Turner. He told me once that he used to own a Turner painting that he bought at a car boot sale. It was unsigned (but many of his were unsigned – he worked on multiple at any given time) and eventually he sold the painting in return for a flight ticket to India, a copy of Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse and six flutes.

On those Sunday mornings, we would go up the rented studio and assemble the tables in the cold room., we each had our own table We’d turn the oil heaters on and put the kettle on. We always drank chai as we painted.

He taught me to mix colours. He taught me to fasten to paper to the table with masking tape so that it didn’t move. He taught me how to make a colour wash, to colour skies to use indigo for shadows and to keep my water colours to my right (since I was right handed). We painted with the best quality Chinese imported ink brushes.

He encouraged me to simply paint and not worry about depicting narratives or making mistakes. I found this extremely difficult at first – to simply depict something – a place or time or emotion with colour and water.

His own style is a meditation, and – in his own words – he encourages us to meditate or dream whilst contemplating the works. His aim is to transport us into creative consciousness of the natural universe, and to realise that this is also the Divine Gift of creativity embodied within our soul-selves.