At age ten, Gita set her first goal, "to make anything she could think of come out of her hands and onto a piece of paper." She gave herself ten years to accomplish that goal. Like her heroes Delacroix, Da Vinci and Picasso, she wanted to understand and observe the world around her and be able to paint or draw anything.
Later, she dropped out of the Visual Art Studies Program at the University of Texas. She considered the training too undisciplined. Instead she opted for an apprenticeship in the animation business. “I wanted a good foundation in classical drawing,” Lloyd says. “In those days animation was one of the few places
to find that.”
She moved from Dallas to Los Angeles where she became known as one of the best Disney-style brush inkers in the business. From Bambi to Power Rangers to Clifford the Big Red Dog, she drew hundreds of mass market children’s books becoming one of the few licensing illustrators to have her name placed boldly on title pages. “That was a great training ground and the money was good back then,” she explains.
Nevertheless, she never lost track of her original goal. She continued her apprenticeship with “the Old Guys" as they were known in the business. “They were only too glad to impart what they knew before retiring, but,” she recalls, “I had always noticed that when these great old Disney artists started to paint for themselves, they didn’t know what to do. It was heartbreaking. I was told, ’Gita, never to give it all to Disney, just keep working on your own stuff.’
I listened! ”
Gita determined fairly early on to keep her distance from the studios and remained a Hollywood freelancer. “I wouldn’t let what happened to the Old Guys happen to me,” she said. Defining herself as Dionysian, her own fine Art does not depict, it experiences.
“My work is athletic, active and direct, like Cezanne once said, I make a ‘sensitive photo-plate’ of myself.” she adds, “And after around half a million drawings, my very strokes and lines have become my language. My works arise as naturally and beautifully as clouds.”
Gita's works hang throughout the Western United States, in Canada and Mexico. Her works are represented in civic, corporate and private collections.
She paints, sculpts and draws. "Mostly in that order!" she laughs. "I have used many different mediums in my long career and like most modern artists I use what fascinates. There have been themes, symbols and series that run their deep courses through my works. A figure here, a sketch there, a landscape where I can sit and make a modern record, a ballet, abstract art, shapes and forms."
Some of her series include: The Diptych Portraits, large scale split-canvas portraits; The 5000 FACES Project, 9x12 painted panels with interviews; The Landscape Heritage Project, live paintings of a county; The LOVE Series, watercolor paintings creating affordable works for low income collectors.
Away from most galleries and working directly with the public she determined to make her own scene. She became an Arts performer, teacher, author and speaker.
In 2009 the 4Culture Site Specific program brought her up to Fall City and Auburn, WA, to do performance paintings. As a teaching artist she taught thousands of children in programs of her own development for various school districts. She has lectured at various writers’ conferences on The Mysteries of the Mass Market. She painted ‘live’ on TV and in sporting arena’s, at music and dance events and even an opera.
Her year long public work, Bakersfield ALIVE!, was awarded certificates of recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Senate and Assembly.
"Not quite how I expected things to go,” she said. “But I've found a way to connect with my times as artists have done throughout the centuries. I have created works of poetic power and beauty and as Gauguin once said, 'It is enough for the artist to have worked to create a link in the chain that is Art." This I have done.
'In the moment' with abstract watercolor artist Gita Lloyd
Dec 1st, 2010
In the 10 years she's lived in Bakersfield,
Gita Lloyd has created an enormous body of work. Many times on the occasions when she
was doing public performances while painting her "Bakersfield Alive!" series a
few years ago, I was impressed with how quickly she worked and her ability to interact, simultaneously, with onlookers. It seemed as if one minute the canvas was empty and five minutes later, voila! The finished product. Laughing, Lloyd agreed with my assessment of her speed. "I do kind of do it like a whirling dervish, don't I."
Credit for the rapidity, she says, goes to the 20 years she spent as an illustrator of children's books, primarily for Golden Books and particularly "Clifford the Big Red Dog."
"We had to work fast," she said. "Once I did the drawings for 25 book titles in one year." Now she looks at that commercial experience as the foundation for doing fine art, which is what she always intended to do. Lloyd's exhibit at Metro Galleries contains a wide variety of subject matter, ranging from Kern County landscapes and icons to historic figures and various kinds of animals.
Her work is expressionistic in style and powerful in its ability to convey emotion. The title "Living Room" was Lloyd's idea. "All the paintings I do are very personal, so it's like (inviting) people into my living room," she said. "My living room is on display."
Both Gita and her husband, musician David Nigel Lloyd, were living and working in Los Angeles at the time of their marriage. Later, after their daughter Ursula was born, the family made their home in a remote part of the Sierra Nevada. She still enjoys painting mountain scenes, all of which she does on location, driving around the county in a truck overflowing with canvases, lumber, art supplies and a straight-backed wooden chair.
Incidentally, she builds and stretches her own canvases, which must be a challenge given the size of some of them. For example, her landscape project at the William Thomas Terminal at Kern County Airport is 40 feet long hanging on specially made mounts she designed. One painting of a mountain scene in the current show is unusual, mainly because of its size. A circular landscape, the canvas measures 16 feet in length and is only 18 inches wide. "It took me days and days of going back again and again to do it," Lloyd said. "It's a riparian sand flat in the Sierra -mostly oaks, pines and rocks."
Since the exhibit covers a period of 10 years, I asked her if she has a favorite painting.
"Whatever I'm doing at the moment," she said. "That would be the (favorite) one." Seizing the moment -- and overcoming obstacles -- is another of Lloyd's hallmarks, as can be seen in her reaction to a small herd of cattle that had plopped themselves down, blocking her panoramic view of a valley she was painting. "The cows wouldn't move," she explained. "So I painted them." Lloyd says painting people as they go about their daily lives -- work, play or any kind of activity -- is something she especially likes to do. Lately she's been inspired by watching jazz musicians. "I'm really intrigued by musicians and their facial expressions as they play -- such strong images," she said. "Like visual artists, they are 'in the moment' with what they're creating."
Congressman Kevin McCarthy owns several of her paintings, which are displayed in his office in Washington, D.C.