September 2018 Issue
by Cindy Whitman
Gayle Miller has been described as an artist who “paints in verbs rather than nouns,” and a stroll through her recent August Feature Artist exhibit at the Society of Bluffton Artists (SOBA) gallery certainly had visitors reaching for adjectives and adverbs to describe her watercolors: “Delightful, free-spirited, fun!” When asked to personally describe her style, the local painter, who is also a dedicated champion of the arts both in Bluffton and Hilton Head (She has served as SOBA’s president for the past three years.) reaches for her own pallet of adjectives: “Colorful, free, and uninhibited. That’s the way I like to paint.”
A business major in college, Gayle carved out a stellar career in the medical insurance business with State Farm, but at one point found herself hungry for a creative outlet. “I have always been a creative person,” Gayle remembers. “In high school, I was always designing and making clothes for myself and my friends, but I didn’t find painting until 2000. Living in Bloomington, Illinois, at the time, working and raising a family with her husband Tony—the now Sun City residents have been married 54 years this month!—Gayle first found that outlet by attending local parks and recreation painting classes. That led to more classes, which led the budding artist to connect with kindred spirits, which led to her finding an outlet for both her business and artistic skills, co-founding Inside Out: Accessible Art, a co-op art gallery in Bloomington.
In 2014 Gayle and Tony relocated to the Lowcountry, and both Gayle and her “delightful, whimsical, musical, joyful” paintings immediately danced onto the local art scene, with shows at SOBA and the Art League of Hilton Head. “It was nice to be accepted so quickly. The fellowship of artists is so important to the whole process. We support and promote one another, and we have a lot of fun!”
Dancing onto the local art scene is the perfect adjective for the petit powerhouse’s watercolors. There’s a lot of movement in Gayle’s work, and many of her paintings, like the one on this month’s cover entitled “Warm Spring”, feature women. When asked why, she replies brightly, “Colorful, stylish, happy women are fun to paint. Painting is just an enjoyable creative experience for me!”
Gayle’s work now enjoys broader exposure. She also shares her love of art and watercolor with her four grandchildren, and has painted portraits of them. Most recently, our cover artist is combining her shared love of fashion, fabric, and painting, experimenting with mixed-media.
Gayle continues to give back, contributing her time and talent to promote the local art scene. “Both Bluffton and Hilton Head Island offer wonderful art classes, book clubs, open studios where you can go and paint with other people, find those kindred spirits,” says Gayle. “At SOBA, we do our very best to help people find art resources, classes, art groups—Sun City’s art group has more than 300 members, and most local communities have them as well. The Lowcountry offers lots of fun groups, options, and activities for both brand new and well-established artists. You just have to get out there and find your creative outlet!”
Gayle’s work is available for viewing and purchase at SOBA, the Art League of Hilton Head, Diva Nails & Spa in Bluffton, and Alexander’s Restaurant on Hilton Head Island.