bridges have long been a source of inspiration for Linda Gill. Hanging
on the walls of her home are several pieces of her early artwork,
done when she was around seven or eight years old. They're mixed
media watercolors and crayons of the Hawthorne, Broadway
and St. Johns bridges. The Portland native plans to do another bridge
series to see what style and interpretation differences, from past
to present, will surface.
Do the twist
In November 2003, two weeks in London taking pictures of the city
and visiting museums left Linda Gill newly inspired to paint
and with the realization of what it is she hopes to accomplish.
"I want to travel, see the world through my camera
and let my experiences come through onto my canvas," she said.
"My goal is that you experience colors and images
that let your imagination come alive, make you believe in magical
moments and help you notice what is. I call it 'visual satisfaction
with a twist.'"
Linda rarely sketches out her ideas, preferring to
paint from her thoughts and memories. Occasionally, she will set
up a still life in her studio or use one of her photographs as a
"I find, however, that my most successful work
comes from my freedom of expression, not trying too hard, getting
out of my own way and allowing my subconscious artist to come through,"
In her mixed-media pieces, Linda uses her photographs by creating
archival prints that are sometimes altered via her computer. She
incorporates textures on the canvas by using clear tar gel and coarse
garnet gel, both acrylic-based media to which she can add color.
"I feel the reflections in the textures give
the work more depth and enhance the photograph," she said.
The past couple years Linda has been using palette
knives to paint. They allow her to keep the details to a minimum
while giving her the flexibility to mix colors directly on the canvas.
"Sometimes I feel like I am sculpting with the
paint as I move it around the canvas," she said. "I tend
to use a lot of paint the more the better! I rarely
mix any thinners in my acrylic paint, because I want to keep the
colors as vibrant and intense as possible. Currently, I'm painting
more with acrylics, as I can build up the textures easier than with
oils and the drying time is relatively short."
Linda usually has both an acrylic and an oil painting
in the works at the same time. She uses water-based oils and enjoys
the ability to re-do as needed, since the paint remains wet for
"However, I was commissioned to do a portrait
earlier this year and I always use oils for that type of realistic
painting," she said.
By the book
Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Van Eyck, Monet, Warhol, Rothko and Pollock
top the list of artists Linda admires.
"I took a lot of art history in college and am
fascinated with studying the backgrounds of each artist," she
said. "I have many books on my shelves regarding color theory
and painting techniques as well as biographies of several artists.
I enjoy learning and am always looking for new inspiration."
This spring Linda's art can be seen at Yvette's
A Flower Gallery (Milwaukie, Ore.) and Illumination Tans at Club
Sport (Tigard, Ore.).
In May she'll be showing paintings and photographs
at Jax Bar & Grill on Southwest Second in Portland.
Linda does commissioned work and allows studio visits
She has a complete portfolio and a Web site where
most of her art can be seen.
Linda's father at best could draw stick figures for Pictionary,
but his father was an accomplished oil painter in the 1930s-'70s.
"I remember watching my grandfather up in his
attic studio in Southeast Portland when I was little," she
said. "I also remember the strong smell of the paints and how
he always had a canvas in progress.
Moon," mixed media
"Every year he would give my mother a painting
at Christmas. Our walls were filled with his work and I now have
some hanging on my walls."
Though Linda's mother has never been a professional
artist, she has painted and brings art and design to all that she
does, including helping Linda install her work for shows.
"I defer to her when it comes to arranging the
art on the walls," Linda said. "At a recent show at Amore
Spa and Salon in the Pearl District, we installed 47 paintings and
photographs. Her expertise with interior design and arranging is
a gift that I am ever grateful for!"
Linda's maternal grandfather was talented as well
a part-time cartoonist who drew political cartoons
for several publications, including Portland's News Telegram. When
he retired to the Oregon coast at Newport, he created the Zig-Zag-Zoo.
"This was technically his garden, a couple of
blocks wide, surrounding his house where he built walkways and a
fence from logs, driftwood and rocks he found at the beach,"
she said. "He painted it and made carvings and signs. Visitors
stopped and took pictures."
She got game
Though Linda has enjoyed creating art for as long as she can remember
her earliest memories include crayons, finger paints
and sidewalk chalk it wasn't until her junior year
of high school that photography was added to her list of endeavors.
"When an illness kept me away from my first love,
sports, I decided that if I couldn't play the game, I'd take pictures
of it," she said. "So I hooked up with the yearbook staff
and started learning how to take photographs."
A few photography classes later and Linda knew she'd
found another outlet for her creative energy. She enjoyed working
in the darkroom almost as much as taking the pictures themselves.
She received her first 35mm camera for high school graduation and
has been taking pictures, on and off, since.
That's the ticket
Heading to Oregon State University, Linda declared pre-med as her
major and took no art classes the first year. Though she enjoyed
chemistry and math, she wasn't convinced that medicine was her calling.
"My second year I took several photojournalism
courses, moved more into the art aspect of photography and enrolled
in drawing and basic design classes," she said. "I decided
I would become a graphic designer and possibly make money doing
something I truly enjoyed. Besides, it sounded cool!"
Linda graduated in 1984 with a degree in art, with
emphasis on graphic design and art history. She then bought a one-way
ticket to Los Angeles.
"I had some friends living there and thought,
why not? A few weeks after I arrived, I got my first real job as
a graphic designer/planner at a land planning firm," she said.
"I learned much more about cartography, presentation graphics
and how businesses work than I ever did in school."
After four years and a couple of earthquakes, Linda
moved back to Portland. Not finding many large-scale land planning
firms in town, she took a job with a company designing and printing
scorecards and other materials for the golf industry.
"Since I grew up in a golfing family, this was
a great fit golf and graphics," she said. "I
started playing when I was 12 and played on my high school and college
teams. Needless to say, I was excited to combine my expertise in
both areas and get paid for doing it!"
In 1990, after only a couple years at this job, Linda
and several coworkers decided to start their own business called
ONE Iron Graphics. She's been president of the company ever since.
Linda painted during most of the 1990s, but her duties at ONE Iron
kept her busy. Then, after her camera was stolen, she rarely took
photographs for nearly 10 years.
Walk," mixed media
"I truly missed my photography and had always
done some sort of art throughout my life," she said.
"I found that with the coming of the millennium
and the passing of my dad that same year, life reflections brought
me closer to my art."
Linda bought a Nikon digital camera and began taking
photographs again. She created a digital darkroom with her Mac computer
and a high-end photo printer.
She was driven to create, became passionate about
it and felt compelled to spend more time with her art and photography.
"I've always liked photographing nature, landscapes,
cities and bridges the best, so that is still my focus," she
said. "I've also incorporated macro-photography into my repertoire.
I enjoy giving the viewer a different perspective, one that they
might not see at first glance.
"I think nature has many aspects of art within
it that we rarely see day to day. But it's something that I look
for and examine. It's what I like to do with my photography: examine
and extract the essence of beauty in things that don't always appear
This magic moment
Linda wants to create art that makes people want to look at and
be around. She wants to generate positive feelings.
the shadows," photograph
"Life is hard at times," she said. "My
message is simple form and color in the right setting can
create an atmosphere where one wants to stay. My goal is to make
the world just a little more pleasant to look at and be in. Hopefully
I pass the magical moments I experience while painting all the way
through to the viewer.
"I always encourage others to paint, draw or
do whatever feeds their creative side an important place
for us to all go sometimes."