Gigi Godfrey spent much of her adulthood as a cardiac nurse, a spouse and a parent. It was a richly fulfilling life that included a deep-rooted passion for art. Over the last few decades, she’s attended classes and workshops from local art centers and community colleges, learning and expanding her own talent through the generous instruction of her teachers.
In 2004, Gigi and her family moved to Bainbridge Island and fell in love with the community and beauty of the Pacific Northwest. After three years on Bainbridge, a career change for her husband spurred a move to California, but the island was their dream location and fortunately they were able to return permanently in 2012. Shortly thereafter, Gigi officially retired from her RN career and began painting full-time.
Today, she carves out at least two afternoons a week to paint, and she participates in an art group here on Bainbridge Island. As she describes it, “There is always more to explore, more to see, more to interpret with paint. I’m grateful to share this quest with so many other venturesome artists, forging friendships, absorbing the beauty of our natural world, and nurturing our souls.”
She describes her process of painting as mindful and peaceful, a way of expressing her inner feelings and playfulness by recreating the rhythm, patterns, colors, and movement of her subjects through her own interpretation. Although she’s been taught the “rules” of successful painting, she enjoys taking artistic license and pushing the boundaries.
Using oils or gouache, she works loosely, using a variety of tools including brushes, palette knives, and scrapers. She likes to allow unfinished portions and marks to show through, thus creating a story of the development of the painting. Her subjects are found in everything from still-life, outdoors on location, photographs she’s taken, as well as family photos. As long as there’s color and movement, Gigi is inspired by it.
Gigi’s love of art is also reflected in her daughter, Natalie Godfrey, who has become a talented artist herself. Natalie’s work is mixed-media, including cardboard quilts and collages. Recently, her pieces were exhibited at Bainbridge Arts & Crafts (BAC), and she was honored to receive the 2019 Amy Award for emerging artists (through BAC and AHB).
“Even though our work is very different,” says Gigi, “we share a lot of the same interests and inspirations. We could stay up all night chatting and exchanging ideas about art. My family has been a huge inspiration and support for my art endeavor, and we try to encourage each other’s unique talents. I am so thankful.”
In 2019, Gigi took her passion a step further and joined the board of Arts & Humanities Bainbridge (AHB), wanting to be part of the work they’re doing to support the art and culture of our community. AHB’s adaptability and creativity to continue their work during the pandemic has been especially inspiring for Gigi. As she told me: “Art flourishes in new ways online—including art education and demos, podcast entertainment, engaging videos, fundraisers, marketplaces, artist interviews, and children’s programs. Generous local businesses continue to host artists following safety guidelines. I was grateful to show my work at Blackbird Bakery for two months this summer.”
As this tumultuous year nears its end, I asked Gigi how she felt art could inspire and heal us during this holiday season. She noted that her show at Blackbird Bakery was a revealing experience for her, one that she’s carried with her as the holidays approach. She’s grateful for the new connections she made during that show, meeting people of all ages from various locations, who reached out and were genuinely excited or touched by the power of art and its healing properties. The experience was so meaningful, Gigi wrote about it on her blog. In the article, entitled “A Suggestion of Possibility.” she quoted another artist talking about steps to take when beginning a painting, saying it should begin as a suggestion of possibility, not predictability.
To Gigi, art in general is a suggestion of possibility that inspires hope and good things to come.
“The process of creating art and viewing art can be healing, especially during troubling times,” she says. “For me, the past several months has been a time for contemplation, reflection, and self-inquiry. Through art, I feel I am able to pause and process some of the anxiety, conflict, and stress triggered by the current unrest in the world.”
Gigi’s work is available on her website: https://www.gigigodfrey.com/gallery
ABOUT MARGARET MILLMORE. Margaret Millmore is a supernatural fiction author and blogger, living on Bainbridge Island with her husband, Bryan. Her first published works were flash fiction, The Welcome Home and Untitled – Luke N. Goode, which were featured on Bay Area artist, Kenny Mencher’s blog. In 2011 she published her first full length novel, since then she’s published a three book series, another novel and her current series (via Next Chapter Publishing – formerly Creativia Publishing) What Haunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 1); The Edge of the Cemetery (Ghost Killer Book 2), which was awarded the August 2016 Book of the Month award by Long and Short Reviews; and What Hunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 3). The majority of her books are set in San Francisco where she lived—previous to island life—for over 26 years. Her preferred writing genre is supernatural fiction, with the exception of her time-travel novel, The Dragonfly Door. In addition to her novels, Margaret writes a blog, called The Island Wanderer – which focuses on people, events and businesses on Bainbridge Island: https://theislandwanderer.com/blog/. All her books can be found on her website and her Amazon Author page.