Fine artist, designer & illustrator, Gertrude Palmer signs her paintings simply 'Gert'. As a young fashionista she received the In Vivo Design Award for a collection of ethnic ski wear, the first fabricated in natural materials. This launched her own junior boutique line under the label of In Vivo. However her yearning for immersion in fine art called to her. Introduced to stone lithography in High School at celebrated New Trier, North of Chicago, she continued studies under Lyle Matouche (master printer for Karl Tobey) found at Southern Oregon University where she produced political and feminist works from 1979 – 1983. Even Valentino ate Apples, Great American Playboy, Not So Mad Housewife, Ecalypso were all produced during this phase. Her professors liked her work well enough to purchase it from the budding student. She also began what has become a life long study of the figure, always working from live poses and using natural light.
1970's through 2011 she raised her four sons. A marriage took her back to her native South. As a result she had no access to the printing press, and traded the demands of lithography to paint plein air in the Caribbean, Mexico and North America. Again working only from life, she complains “Many landscape artist paint pristine works where every blade of grass is accounted for and in its place. But the landscape is wild and full of movement. Dirt flies, birds disturb and everything is wild! and further notes that 'The demands of working on location include distractions and discomfort, but we are rewarded with paintings that are full of life and story.'
1998-2002 at the urging of a friend, she explored abstract impressionism at Chez Moi Studio on Tybee Island. Long an admirer of jazz violinist Stephan Grappelli, she painted a tribute with a silk thread Grappelli I and II, in which she sought to build up an ephemeral form with a very fine line. These works, like her figures and landscapes are approached ala prima and without plan. I trust a natural order to present itself and allow an organic evolution in which I feel I am a participant. Essentially I make elegant forms of these fluid expressions. Produced during this time: Patination, Flamingo, Chakras.
Throughout her forty years of painting, she returns often to the figure, in intuitive watercolor gestures, (a large collection of nudes, which are described by illustrator Ted Jordan, as world class) and narrative fantasies like Boots and Naked in the Garden Of Eden.
Embracing such broad subject and style is not a digression, the artist explains. I guess I want the whole candy shop. But you see my love of contrast and articulation balanced by the spirit of the thing no matter the venue. This imbues all of my work with a powerful energy which surprises and expresses a spiritual presence. An artist has only a lifetime to tackle an enormous task. The challenge of ever changing perceptions is a consequence of intelligent pursuit. Learning is accelerated when fear of the unknown is overcome. I feel I have a lot to learn.
You can see how my work in abstract expression has effected my traditional watercolor landscapes. The Store, and Pritchard House. These paintings have neon line work that Gert feels are energy lines that animate a sedate low country scene. I may pick up a scrub brush or garden hose when painting an abstract. Anything is fair game. “My portraits still demand a good likeness. But a likeness alone is a score without the flute.”
Gertrude Palmer is highly respected by peer artists and collectors as well. Her scope is broad and varied, including landscapes, abstracts, figurative, portraits and design. She accepts private commissions and offers classes in her Bluffton, SC studio. Contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org.