St. Thomas Public Library is proud to support the community’s culture and talent. Each month, local artists have the opportunity to showcase their work on our “Art in the Library” wall next to the Creators’ Community on the Main Level! Displays are open to the public and it is free for artists to participate. For more information or to request an application, contact the Adult Services Department at the Library at 519-631-6050.
December’s featured artist is Gail McNaughton: Poet, Author, Doodle Artist, Rug Hooker, and Punch Needler! Read Gail’s Artist Profile below:
Gail is a Canadian Poet and Author and has developed into a Doodle Artist. She resides in St. Thomas with her husband, Bob, and three cats “Panda Bear”, “Poppy” and “Casey” after relocating here from Toronto 18 years ago. She is co-owner of Dog & Pony Productions Inc., a marketing and video production company helping organizations “Tell their Story to get Noticed”.
She has written 5 books and two books in particular, “To Have A Cup Of Tea With A Cat & Other Cat Tails”, as well as “Garden Memories In The Web Of Life”, show illustrations of her doodle art. Doodle Art Angels and Fairies can also be found in her most recent book, Angel Witness, which is a coffee-table size book filled with spiritual writings, angel photos and art. Gail has now finished a trilogy titled “The Red Canoe” which will be published in the near future.
A series of cartoon characters have come to life through Gail, the primary one being Flowercat ™. She has a collection of characters that she calls her cartoon family. They each have individual names and identities. Fleecy, a Golden Doodle Dog, born on October 1, 2010, became part of Gail’s world after investigating the meaning of “Doodling”. Up popped the Doodle Dog and having such a dog made total sense to inspire her further. An accident took Fleecy’s life and a new Labradoodle, Truffles, took residence in Gail’s heart. This chocolate brown dog of 4 years is inspiration for her dog character.
Since February 2004, Gail has been doodling while attending lectures, waiting for appointments, as a passenger in a car, at her cottage, away on vacations, while sitting in bed and at her antique desk in the kitchen. She has built up quite a collection of artwork! Some doodles have been coloured using magic markers, paint pens and acrylics. In 2007 some were compiled in a Flowercat ™ colouring book, sponsored by local businesses, friends and family and went to the Dominican Republic for children to enjoy. They have now gone to other countries as well. In 2015 Gail created another colouring book, “The Doodle Ladies Colouring Book”, appropriate for women of all ages.
Gail has a love of bright, primary colours so her doodle artwork is bold, playful, dramatic and loving. The cartoon characters all have congenial, loving personalities and interact to help heal the world in the midst of hearts, flowers and other symbols.
Divinely inspired to create, Gail’s doodle characters come to her in many dreams including the Angel-Woman “Angelica”. By putting a heart behind any figure, they become angels Gail discovered. Using significant words, phrases and inspiring comments in her work makes the reader think. She often writes stories about her drawings and paintings.
Her work has been shown at many local venues – St. Thomas Library, Art Wall in Joe Preston, MP’s office, Appreciation of the Arts, Horton Farmer’s Market, Tour of Gardens at her home, The Art Exchange, Inspire Fest, at Rug Hooking annual events and at a special event she planned and organized for her Rug Hooking group and to show “all” of her own work (art and rugs), at Algoma University (former Wellington Street Public School). Her doodle artwork can be purchased as enlargements, greeting cards, bookmarks, T-shirts, paintings, buttons and on mouse pads. Gail has continually been in the media and in Relish Elgin. Her doodle art, special for the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital hangs in the Patient/Family Resource Centre sitting area.
Gail’s other passion is antique rug hooking whereby she creates her own designs and Flowercat ™ doodle artwork. She uses a variety of wool fabrics and interprets colour for the pattern that she has created using texture and the melding pot of wools to visually tell a story. Her rug hookings have been on display locally and at the Trent University Rug Hooking School.
Forever a photographer, Gail takes photos in and around St. Thomas and Elgin County, around the world and at the cottage. She specializes in angels, statues, flowers, gardens, animals, still-life and sunrises. Under the brand “The Photographic Heart”, a division of Dog & Pony Productions Inc., she sells photo art greeting cards to retailers, sometimes at the Horton Farmer’s Market to the public, at the cottage, out of her home and from her website. She has also produced three postcards of Jumbo, “The Fantasy” series – “Pink Jumbo”, “Jumbo Visits Alma College” and “Jumbo Visits the 2010 IPM”. These came about after she created the theory that since Jumbo was painted pink for one weekend, as a primer, he became “magical” and could travel around Elgin County. You know what they say about “pink elephants”!
Gail’s intention is also to bring historical memories to St. Thomas and Elgin County residents and tourists. In a joint effort with the Elgin County Archives, she created reproductions of old photos for art cards from the Scott-Sefton, Alma College, Hugh Sims and Evans archival collections. Postcard reproductions have also been done from Don Cosen’s and Ken Tuff’s postcard collections. Additionally, Gail has reproduced greeting cards of several artists’ work including Tom Spatafore, Canadian Wildlife artist; Paul Schleusner (deceased), of Port Stanley and Teresa Marie of Grand Bend.
“The Children’s Seed Project” in 2004 was near to Gail’s heart. She utilized $100.00 given to her at The Women’s Conference in London to do something positive in her community. Ten young artists were selected and had a day with a famous painter, Paul Schleusner, and their artwork was displayed in the St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Centre. A video was made of the event and Gail presented it at the next Women’s Conference. She also enjoyed her participation in the St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Centre’s “Banner Art” program where her banner “Spring Thing” was hung downtown St. Thomas during the summer of 2005.
In 2008 Gail initiated another project, “Walk The Chalk” where chalk art was done on the main downtown street, Talbot Street, in St. Thomas as part of the annual Iron Horse Festival. This was a first for the Festival and the City of St. Thomas. Sponsorships were sold to companies and individuals and they were matched up with not-for-profit organizations that did the chalk art utilizing the manpower of friends, family, staff and volunteers. It was a glorious scene to watch the art work magically unfold on the street over two days. First place went to the Alzheimer Society, second went to The Association for Community Living and third went to the VON.
For two Christmas Parades in St. Thomas, Gail’s artwork was used on the Talbot Teen Centre float as Gail had 8 foot art done for her husband’s special 60th birthday and Jamie McBain used this artwork to make doodles on poles for the teens to hold.
Gail is Past Chair of the Elgin Business Women’s Network and has participated on the administration committees for the United Way, Tourist Association, Port Stanley Festival Theatre & Etobicoke Camera Club. She is a member of Memories In Wool Rug Hooking Club and is a volunteer on the Patient Experience Council at St. Thomas – Elgin Country General Hospital and volunteers as well at the Information desk. She works as a part-time Sales Consultant at Bela Booteek in Aylmer.
Her website is www.gailmcnaughton.com.