Gale Frances

The artist's life is a particularly spirited life that need recognize the value of freedom for oneself and for others.

Such is the milieu of the artist.

the Diaspora ...

Gale Frances was born May 5, 1937 in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. She was the first of four children born to a working-class family with roots stretching back to 17th century America if not further. After WWII ended, the family moved back to North Dakota. There, and later in Minnesota, Gale raised her children; studied; taught; and generally championed for fairness and creativity in her community, her family, and in herself.

Living the second half of her life in her beloved SF Bay Area, Gale worked in civil rights compliance for the U.S. government. She cultivated, cooked, traveled and – alone or with others – celebrated creativity.

She died in Pacifica, California on June 2, 2021.

Six months earlier Gale was told that a creeping cancer wasn't going away. It didn't.

For the last two months of her 84 years, a stroke, having largely paralyzed her left side, insisted that her living room become her bedroom. During this time we cooked for her, read to her, played music and sang to her – and we talked. With her typical wit, disarming humor, curiosity, and mischief, Mom joined in on the discussions, offering her unvarnished (read: no bullshit) assessments of what was going on around her.

Gale was at home, in her beloved Pacifica – among the mint, lavender, jasmine ... the Meyer lemon in full bloom ... the hummingbirds, honeybees, deer, nightime owls ... the lustrous raven flying between the two massive pine trees that framed her view of the hills above Linda Mar. Throughout her forty years of living up on Crespi Drive, she would remark about flora, fauna ... the distinctive lighting of the hills ... ocean conditions under sky ... with the enthusiasm, curiosity, and gratitude of seeing it anew each time.

She and her family knew her days of both joy and sorrow were ending. Yet, her last springtime was not without the abundant transcendent beauty that she'd known all along.

In her final months we also talked about art and the artwork that adorned the walls of – and generally inhabited – her house; its glassed-in studio a place that Gale, and sometimes her children and grandchildren, made art.

"Neo-post-modern-reactionary-liberal-feminist-seeker of origin and destiny portraitist; searching for the source, essence and elements of identity” is how she once described herself. Sitting here, writing this from a perspective as one of her four children, it seems she wasn't far from an accurate summation of her artistic hat collection.

A lot of Gale's artwork has been sold or given away over the years. The work contained herein is a small portion of what was at her home at the time of her passing. This collection begins with some childhood drawings, to recent works, and pieces in between.

. . . the human gaze.

Neither fine art art nor our actual presence together will ever be electronically duplicated. Nonetheless, your comments, questions, or just sharing some aloha, is most welcome. (The commenting system is my own. Whatever name and comments you send are simply stored on my server. Authentication is not required and comments are moderated. Optionally, in the private box you can send contact info or any short text and it won't appear on the site.) Suffice to say that a fitting online tribute to Gale certainly wouldn't eschew joyous interactive opportunities.

Thanks to the beautiful people who came to the house to help with Mom's care, and to others expressing love in their own ways. Thanks to all who were, and are, along on this ride of curiosity that nourishes our souls, including the Sanchez Art Center as well as Mom's comrades at Tangerine Arts and the Pacifica Art Guild. Special thanks to Gale's daughter-in-law Jan Schmidt for her meticulous work in digitally archiving and making possible this tour of the art of Gale Frances.

Darren Schmidt
Hawai'i Island