Gail Pope


My passion for art started very early in life – a pencil, crayon or paintbrush was never far from my hand! I won various art competitions at school, but never thought much about it. Realisation as to any ‘calling’ only began when, in my first year at High School (age13), the head of the Art Department asked my permission to copy a painting I’d done of two imaginary parrots (very imaginary, very way out!), and subsequently created a huge mosaic of them on his ceiling at home. He turned an exact copy of my creation into a visual wow factor. Also, together with my art teacher, he strongly recommended me for Art College.

Regrettably that was a luxury my family simply could not afford. I entered the world of commerce.

Nevertheless, a domestic move from Dundee to Glasgow enabled a spell studying drawing (still life and figurative) at Glasgow School of Art, and then a few years later I found myself under the wing of George Birrell, a highly respected art lecturer/teacher, himself a graduate from GSA, and an established successful exhibiting artist. George instilled technical skills, practical knowledge, broadened my technique, and importantly, gave encouragement. I gained the confidence to submit my artwork to galleries for sale. I have now been painting as an exhibiting artist throughout the UK for over fifteen years.

Working mostly in acrylics, my primary influence is colour, with tonal harmony and perhaps the odd colour clash being an underlying feature. Depending on the effect I aim to produce, I often go beyond the use of the paintbrush, using sponges, pallet knives, tissues, gold leaf, pen and ink, and even fingers. Texture and layering, particularly on backgrounds, sets an important foundation.

Initially focused on still life (florals in particular), over time I began to expand my subject matter to include landscapes, seascapes, and occasionally, portraits. Also, I really enjoy abstract work where I find the freedom and random nature of it both fascinating and creatively fulfilling. It is fascinating to see a blank canvas evolve into something totally not preconceived; progress is natural, often contemplative along the way, occasionally emerging from ‘happy accidents’. Yet, always, the choice of colour pallet and tonal harmony is foremost in my mind. I tend to consider a painting ‘finished’ only when I would gladly hang it on my own walls at home.

Gail Pope