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360 Degrees of Appreciation

Tracing the Work of Artist Gay Badenoch

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Gay Badenoch (1920-2003) studied and painted most of her life, starting at the Boston Art Institute after winning a scholarship following high school. She also attended classes in Detroit at the Cranbrook Institute. Upon moving to New York City, she began studying with The Arts Students League in Manhattan. She then moved to Danville, California, where she worked with well known Bay Area artists, including Lundy Siegrist and Richard Yip, and found inspiration at the Center for Learning in Retirement group working with Ann O'Hanlon.


Badenoch's inspiration came from living with paintings made by her artist grandmother and using china she had hand decorated. Initially, she chose to paint in oil where the subject matter was strictly representational. She then developed a flair for spontaneity and design which steered her works in a direction toward impressionism and later toward pure abstraction. She utilized a variety of media: from oil to acrylic and watercolor, to collage and even sculpture. Regardless of the medium she chose, her works reflect a sense of color, design and composition within a dynamic quality, revealing the spirit of her paintings -- that spirit is what imparts the works' unmitigated uniqueness.

"Some paintings are intended to convey a happening as a photograph might -- to convey a message which is just as you see it, leaving no room for other interpretation, no room for you to see something beyond surface meaning. In contrast, my paintings are intended to evoke meaning within you -- meaning not only at the surface level, but also at deeper levels of imaginative, creative response. What you bring to the pictures and how you interact with what I have brought to them generates the meaning, the value, the enjoyment you receive. There is a changeable quality in my paintings. What they evoke in you today may be quite different from what you see and feel tomorrow. In this way, the paintings seem to have a life of their own, changing with time. The pictures live, grow and change with you." - Gay Badenoch, 1983

Throughout Badenoch's lifetime, she had won countless awards, including "Best of Show" at a watercolor exhibit sponsored by Richard Yip at the Hall of Flowers in San Francisco, which was said to be the largest show in the country of its kind. She also received "Best in Show" at the Artists Embassy International Show at the Spring Gardens Center in San Francisco.