One time fashion designer & illustrator Gert, was awarded the In Vivo Design Award for her collection of ethnic ski wear, the first fabricated in natural materials. Yearning to explore fine art, she returned to stone lithography which she learned at New Trier High School outside Chicago. She began studying under Lyle Matouche (master printer for Mark Tobey) and produced political and feminist works from 79 â€“ 83 like "Even Valentino Ate Apples, Great American Playboy, Not So Mad Housewife, Ecalypso". Her professors at Southern Oregon University in Ashland liked her work well enough to purchase it. Gertrude also began a life-long study of the figure, always working from live poses and using natural light.
1970's through 2011 she traded in the demands of the litho lab to paint plein air in the Caribbean, Mexico and North America. Again working only from life, she complains â€śMany 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!â€ť The demands of working on location include distractions and discomfort, but reward us with paintings full of life and story.
1998-2002 at the urging of a friend, she explored abstract impressionism at her Chez Moi Studio on Tybee Island. Long an admirer of jazz violinist Stephan Grappelli, she painted a tribute with silk thread called Grappelli I and II, where the artist built ephemeral form with a very fine line. Palmer prefers to paint ala prima without preconception. "I trust a natural order will present itself and allow a sort of organic evolution to lead me through the creative process. Essentially I make elegant forms of fluid expression." Examples include Patination, Flamingo, Chakras.
During forty years of painting, she turns often to the figure, painted quickly in watercolor gestures, (described by illustrator Ted Jordan, as world class) as well as narrative fantasies like Boots, Road to Rainbow Gulch and Naked in the Garden Of Eden.
Embracing such broad subject and style is not a digression, the artist explains. "It is true, 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 genre. This captures powerful energies, an element of surprise and a spiritual presence. Artist only have a lifetime to tackle an enormous task. It can be said about both art and life that learning is accelerated when we trust the outcome and you can see how my abstract expressions affect my traditional watercolor landscapes. The Store, and Pritchard House have neon line work that I feel are energy lines animating a sedate low country scene. I may pick up a scrub brush or garden hose when painting an abstract. Anything is fair game. In contrast, my portraits demand a good likeness, but likeness alone is a score without the flute. They too must relate the energies of the modelâ€ť