Painter brings life to Clowes lobby

For Gayla Hodson, painting is an intuitive experience—not one bound by technique and structure.

Hodson is a local artist whose art is currently within walking distance.

On display at Clowes Memorial Hall until Sunday as part of the Art @ Clowes program, Hodson’s exhibit entitled “Inclusion,” is a combination of pieces from the past seven to eight years that mark her evolution as both an artist and a person.

“They are all a part of me,” Hodson said.  “[They are] all a part of the journey.”

Hodson said her journey has been one of tragedy and change,  but it is not sad or bitter. Hodson has learned to listen to herself and her heart through a divorce, a new marriage and death.

When Hodson’s mother and creative influence passed away in 2001, Hodson felt a strong pull to leave her career as a teacher and start to paint full time.

“It was perfect timing,” Hodson said. “Everything I learned from teaching influences where I am today.”

Since she has an extensive background in art, Hodson knew the technical side of painting such as shape, color, composition and dimension, but she realized she wasn’t listening to herself, which is the point of “intuitive painting.” She wanted to know more about herself as an artist, and in 2009 she got her chance.

Hodson received the 2009 Creative Renewal Fellowship Grant from the Indianapolis Arts Council through the Lilly Endowment and went to Taos, N.M., for a painting workshop and retreat.

Today, she said her work represents her inner self.  It has evolved from city scapes and hearts to elegant mirrors of her thoughts, desires and passions.

“[It’s not about painting] from the head,” Hodson said.  “[It’s about] painting from the gut.”

James Cramer, the program coordinator for the Art @ Clowes program, said there is an essence of Hodson in her work.  Cramer said her intuitive paintings and all the art at Clowes give people a comfortable and accessible way to discuss art that they might not otherwise have.

“Art can bring us together to have safe enough conversation about difference of opinion,” Cramer said.  “We can grow and learn from the arts.”

Hodson has grown in her style since Cramer approached her two years ago to create the display.  Leaving the traditional bounds of technique and composition behind, Hodson’s work now is reflective of her open spirit.

Cramer said patrons should view Hodson’s work with no preconceived notions.  Sometimes, just looking at the art is enough, he said.

“Just open yourself up to it,” Cramer said.

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