Gai often draws her inspiration for painting from the natural world. In particular, she loves to represent the beauty of detail in close examination of bark and stone.
The abstract patterns of waves breaking, of cracking, peeling bark and wind-blown leaves also feature in many of her paintings. Whilst working in various media she always returns to the joy of flooding paper with water and pigment to create soft backgrounds for detailed close-ups of both natural and man-made objects.
Her paintings are held in private collections throughout Australia, the UK and in the USA.
Gai was born in Wollongong and moved to Sydney as a child. She had a passion for drawing and painting which was rewarded with a prize in the MLC Insurance Company’s Annual Art Competition and Exhibition in 1967.
For many years after this, academic pursuits took over and Gai completed her education at Sydney University before commencing a 12 year career as an English and History teacher.
For 2 years in 1986-7 Gai, her husband Richard and daughter Alex toured through Europe, and their visits to the great galleries combining with the spectacles of the landscape inspired Gai to recommence sketching. When she returned to Australia, however, a new career took over, and she spent the next 13 years working with Myer Grace Bros in training, customer service and store management roles.
Then in 2000 Gai was diagnosed with breast cancer and her life changed dramatically. Unable to work during the intensive period of treatment, Gai finally had the time to return to painting. She enrolled in a watercolour course at Hazelhurst and met the women who became her friends and teachers in this artistic medium. Early in 2003, Gai retired so that she could focus her free time on travel and painting.
Since that time Gai has exhibited her work at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, at The St George Regional Gallery and at The Palm House exhibition space in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. She has also conducted demonstrations and workshops for various Art Societies in Sydney.
She has won awards with Sutherland Art Society in 2006, 2007 and 2011, at Oyster Bay Arts Festival in 2006, 2010 and in 2014 and at the Point Wollstonecraft Art Week in 2008 and 2012. In September 2008 she was awarded an art scholarship and first prize in the inaugural Art After Five national competition, sponsored by Novartis and the Breast Cancer Institute.
She is a founding member of the Watercourse Artists Association and has co-jointly organised and exhibited in all Watercourse Exhibitions staged by this art society. The fifteenth Watercourse Exhibition will be held at the Palm House in April-May 2019.