Sable Flow Artist Interview: Gayla Rant of Gayla Designs
Read time: 9.5 min
Interview with Achorage Alaska based Encaustic Painter Gayla Ranf of Gayla Designs. How she finds her heart space for creativity.
The following responses are lightly edited for length and clarity.
Let's get to know you..
My name is Gayla Rant, I was born and raised and still live in Anchorage, Alaska. Up in the last frontier. I have an art studio here called the Spenard Art Studio, where I work out of, and I also teach encaustic painting, which is my preferred medium.
What is encaustic painting?
It's an ancient medium from about 5th century B.C. that the Egyptians ancient Greeks used. They were using the beeswax for boat making and for preserving and so they used it for art as well. It is actually beeswax with a little bit more resin melted in with it and some pigment. It has had a resurgence in the last 30 years or so.
You basically melt it, either straight onto, say, a pancake griddle (which is what I started off on) or in tins and then you use natural bristle brushes (because synthetic will melt) then paint with it. Then you use heat guns and torches to layer, and you can create wonderful luminous and multimedia paintings.
I really like to use a lot of Mixed Media in my work. I do enjoy teaching that as well.
When did you get your start as an artist?
With the encouragement of my husband, quite a few years ago now, he got me back into exploring my creative side.
I use it as a catalyst for my personal growth, because it is something that I think a lot of us deny the creative side of ourselves. It helps to just own that part of ourselves. However it's manifests
I agree with that wholeheartedly. I think it's also a great way to exercise presence, to be actually there in the moment and to do something right.
Who did you creatively idolize early on?
Toulouse-Lautrec was also it's was a one that I was drawn to just because it's just because just how unusual those use of colors and limes and drawings,
Do you listen to music while you create?
Gayla Designs: Music is so emotive and I'm into discovering how different music can just create different energy at any different time.
I can go all over the map. I was a product of the 80s, but also I like Brandi Carlile and a lot of the strong women like Lady Gaga, the soul and energy of who they are.
But also Leonard Cohen, Mumford & Sons and my Ben Abraham Song Radio.
For me, it's really about getting out of the head and being able to now drop into more of a creative heart space and allow things to unfold without overthinking it.
How do you relate to the term or concept of Flow State?
I feel that being in the flow really is about being in your heart space and that is the terminology I use. It's all about staying intentional and coming back to that balance of making sure that all the areas are being fulfilled and not getting totally drained by just one.
I love that, I haven't heard that term heart space before.
Is there a time of day that you prefer that you find more inspiration generally?
mornings probably be a little bit more ideal for me than in the middle of the afternoon when I'm when the energy's waning
When ideas are striking. How do you hold on to them or record them?
I will take pictures of everything and then I can come back to those and it just helps that creative imagination side of myself and Flow. Some of those photos I even incorporate into encaustic collage pieces.
Tell me about your workspace and what matters to you about it.
I'm very blessed to have this studio space. I have a nice little area that's just mine and I have a window in there and to me having some natural daylight come in is very important. But I also have a very large area for teaching and sharing.
I have great lighting in my studio and like having things sort of within reach.
Favorite fictional character?
The Lord of the Rings. Specifically for some reason, I just the whole fantasy Good versus evil. And how for thousands of years you can be steeped in this evilness but you know that good will prevail in the end. I do believe that there is light that exists and it will ultimately prevail
I also love the whole Ted Lasso series, it's fun to find shows and characters that. are more uplifting
What's something that you've been experimenting with right now,
Different types of collage. Bigger dreams down the road would be to create some Enormously freakish gigantic piece
How would you describe your art style in one or two words?
Instead of impressionistic, I'm going to say impressions.
Your biggest strength as a creative person?
Sable Flow: What is the thing you struggle with most as an artist
overthinking, thinking instead of just jumping in and doing.
Are there any Podcasts you listen to and recommend?
art school podcast
What are you doing when you're not making art?
I, well, I really enjoy spending time with my friends and I am looking into doing more yoga in a community since covid. Kind of got out of doing it community-wise. So I'm looking forward to doing that more and I enjoy reading. Fantasy sci-fi and primarily.
self-help books too. But I don't listen like that particular term
I have a nice one that I'm reading right now called The, the inner work of age.
Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
The whole mental health and mindfulness movement has been something that's been very helpful and interesting for me, and it is something that I find is very tied to artwork and our inner work.
In Art, judgment and being hard on oneself kills creativity and it can just get in the way of really making our best work and being able to really enjoy what we're doing.
For me, artwork has been a catalyst for that inner work. Releasing judgment and expectations especially around creativity, can really open the doors to a sense of freedom and accepting what comes out of you, as you're as you're creating,
That’s what led to the tagline for my business: Gayla Designs: The Art of Purpose.
It is meant to encourage people to look at what is yours that's different. Know what makes you tick and being able to come to a place of substance and compassion. Introspection and empowering oneself, finding peace.
What do you think the importance of having art around is for most people?
They say Art heals, and I believe that, but it also directly affects out thoughts and emotions.
When you see something that hits you and stirs an emotion. Ask yourself what about it does that, especially if it makes you feel good. “Wow, what do I like about that?”
Learning if its colors, shapes, subject matter, whatever it is.
We need more of that in our lives. It’s important to figure out how you can bring more of that into your space. So that you can resonate more with these uplifting feelings versus getting caught in our heads. So art just really can help.
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