An Interview with Louise Gale

Today I'm chatting with Louise Gale. Louise is a British mixed media artist, with a passion for color, nature and mandala making. She creates in her art studio in south Spain overlooking the sea.

Louise Gale, Artist, British Mixed Media Artist

I can't remember when I first ran across Louise, but it was at an earlier point in her creative journey, before she'd moved to Spain. I'm always delighted when I see other artists' dreams come to fruition, and Louise's certainly have!

ab: Hi, Louise, it's lovely to have you here chatting with me today. You are a British artist living in Spain, but before you ended up in your dream studio by the sea you spent eight years in New York City working in a windowless corporate office. What sort of job was that? How did you move through that experience and transform your life into its current sublime state?

lg: So lovely to be here chatting with you also! The corporate job I had in the USA, was in training and development for a large company. The job took me from London to the USA, so a great adventure in itself, but there was something inside that whispered to me to reconnect with my creativity and make that more of my day to day existence. So I put a little plan together (with lots of savings in the bank) to leave my job and see where it took me! It was the best decision I made, as it opened up so many opportunities for my own creative work and also for working with other creative people which I still love to do now. There have been lots of twists, turns and unexpected bumps in the road, but all have led me to a better, more satisfying life which I love!

Louise Gale, Artist Studio, Spain, Sea, Ocean, View, Work Space

ab: Although the windowless corporate office of your New York years sounds devoid of creativity, you were still making art during that time. You have a series of mixed media pieces in the permanent collection of the Hoboken Historical Museum. Can you share a bit about those pieces? How did that series come about? Did you create the pieces specifically for the museum? Where did you find your inspiration?

lg: Hoboken has so much history and when I lived there, I loved walking around the town exploring. There are so many hidden features to be found in Hoboken – old shop signs, facades of buildings and little details not many notice in their daily life rushing around town. 

I submitted an idea for an art exhibition (named ‘Sew Hoboken’) in the gallery area of the museum which they accepted. I created little stories behind the photos I was taking, which evolved into the mixed media pieces and also the little audio snippets that I provided to the museum as part of the exhibition.

This exhibit featured digital prints with an element of sewing and fabric included, showing the real essence of Hoboken with some surrealism thrown in through the fabric designs and sewing additions.

I was thrilled that before the exhibition even opened, one of their patrons looked through my pieces and offered to purchase the whole collection which they then donated to the museum. Such an honor! I put together a little audio guide to the exhibition here: 

ab: Your life seems to be so beautiful, rich and fulfilling, but I know, that like everyone, you must have down days and creative slumps. How do you handle those darker times? What practices help you move back toward joy?

lg: I very rarely have darker times, which I am so grateful for. If I have an ‘off’ day, I just take myself outside, walk along the beach, or go out somewhere. I always find being in nature or taking some time out doing something completely different lifts my spirits. I am a pretty positive person so will always see opportunities to learn about myself or find a way back to joy. Life happens and how we react to it, makes all the difference.

Louise Gale, Watercolor, Botanical Mandala, painting, mandala flowers, anemone

ab: You studied art and design in school and ceramic design at university, but on your website you mention that you were once told you wouldn't get into art school. Who told you this? How did that statement affect the course of your creative life? How did your experiences in art school help you arrive to where you are today?

lg: Oh yes! That was my art teacher at school. I was 16 and about to apply to a local art school, which I really wanted to get into. I was very upset about it and when I told my mum, she said “don’t listen to her! Just do your best and if you don’t get in, you can apply to other art schools. There are lots of ways you can still be creative!” This statement from my mum really helped me and made me realize that there are always other paths and ways to do what we love to do. I did get into art school, so it was rather satisfying to tell my teacher! I loved the experience of being in a creative place, surrounded by other creative people. For the first course, I studied lots of different mediums and techniques, so I think this is where my love of mixed media comes from! I wanted to be a surface pattern designer and when I didn’t get into the course I wanted, I was actually offered another class in Ceramics, which I thought was really interesting as I got to create more with my hands using plaster and clay and decorating what I created with surface design! I love to learn, so am always taking different short courses or classes, even today!

Louise Gale, Drawing, Botanical Sketches,  flowers, black and white

ab: Color is a big part of what you do. You're working toward your Color Therapy Certification. You contribute to Moyo Magazine with a "color stories" column. You even have a whole website dedicated to it! Why is color so important to you? What part does color play in your art and in your life? What is it about color that you most want to convey to your students?

lg: Color is life! I see color as vibration, which it is essentially. Each color of the rainbow has it own frequency and when I studied ‘energy life coaching’ in 2008, I found a much deeper connection to color energy and how it can relate to us personally. This started me on a path of learning and exploring more about color, how it affects us and really diving deep into my own experience of creating with color. I used to be scared to use red in my paintings so this is what got me started on the color energy journey too! In terms of using it in my courses or with others, I think it is so eye opening to be aware of color around us, how we see it, use it in our homes, food and clothing and how it makes us feel. I love to inspire others to look at how color shows up in their surroundings, art and life so they can find a more meaningful connection to it and also use it to enhance their day to day.

Louise Gale, Watercolor, Botanical color palette, dahlia, color

ab: Another main theme in your art is the mandala. Last year the book that you coauthored, Mandala for the Inspired Artist, was published. Right now you're working on another mandala book project -- Botanical Mandalas. How did you get involved with creating mandalas? What is your creative practice surrounding them? Can you share a bit more about the book you're working on now?

lg: When I first moved to Spain, I had no art materials with me or a dedicated space to create in, so I found myself walking out on the beach and collecting found objects. I started to create temporary mandalas which I would leave for others to find using shells, wood, stones, leaves, flowers and all sorts of things! Then on some mornings, I would just sit on the beach with my sketchbook and I always found myself doodling mandala designs as the sun came up. It became a morning meditation for me.

Louise Gale, Watercolor, Botanical Mandala, painting, mandala flowers, blossoms

The Botanical Mandala book has been on my mind for a couple of years now and I love the idea of combining the healing power of nature with the meditative and relaxing energy of mandala making so this is the main focus of the book. I want to celebrate how beautiful nature is and encourage others to take time to look more deeply. The book will be full of ideas for using nature as inspiration in artwork combined with art tutorials for creating designs in lots of different mediums. In addition to the book, I am also working on a year-long online class which will accompany the book, and dive more deeply into nature and lots of different mediums, focusing on a project each week! Both will be available in the Spring of 2018.

ab: You dream and then manifest those dreams in a beautiful, joyful way. What's the next dream on the horizon for you?

lg: My current dream is to have a larger, more dedicated space to create in. At the moment, my little studio is in my home, which has the most amazing view, but I definitely need more space to spread out, work on larger canvases and have a little area to relax in! So finding that space in my current building or close by (with a similar view) would be a dream!

Louise Gale, Watercolor, Botanical Mandala, painting, mandalas, flowers, drawings

Thank you, Louise, for sharing your story here with us!

Louise Gale, Watercolor, Botanical Mandala, painting, mandala, flowers, dahlia flower

Dear readers, you can connect with Louise:

at her website:

on Facebook:

on Instagram:

Want to check out my other artist interviews? You can catch up here. And find more inspiration from the Sketchbook Conversations series of mini, sketchbook-related interviews, all of which can be accessed here.

*Photos in this post © Louise Gale. Used with permission.


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