Gail Franke

Gail Franke

Oil Painter and Plein Air Artist

Gail Franke

Artist Statement:

My love of art has been life-long. As a child I was always drawing and working in pastels. After high school I pursued a degree in art education from UW-Madison and a Masters degree in Special Education Early Childhood from UW-Whitewater. Incorporating art activities and art experiences were a key element I used in teaching children with special needs to build cognitive and language skills, and a sense of wonder and accomplishment.

I am now a full time artist. I paint in oils because I love the rich color, the ability to apply thick and thin paint, and the ability to change things on my painting until I’m satisfied that I’ve captured what I intended to paint.  My fascination for boldly defined shapes, both in value and color contrast is often a key element that I look for when starting a painting. I paint in the studio, but find myself more and more drawn to painting outside, even in winter. I feel I see more clearly the beautiful subtlety of colors and light painting directly from nature. Plein air paintings achieve a freshness and spontaneity that I love. Painting the landscape with its quickly changing light is challenging and always exciting.

My studio paintings often are from photos of my travels.  I love to capture people in everyday experiences; “little slices of life”: and then create colorful and fun paintings from these photos.

This past summer, 2014, I was selected to be the Artist-in-Residence at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park.  I lived in the park and painted for two weeks, and one of my paintings will be included in the National Park’s Permanent Collection. It was a wonderful experience, allowing me to paint every day in the changing weather and light.

I participate in “plein air” contests and events throughout Wisconsin and the mid-west. I have exhibited in solo, group and juried exhibitions. My work is in private and corporate collections throughout the United States.

Gail Franke

Education & Memberships


BS in Art Education from UW-Madison
Masters in Special Education-Early Childhood from UW-Whitewater


Oil Painters of America
American Impressionist Society
Wisconsin Plein Air Painters Association



2014 – I was selected to be the Artist-in-Residence at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park, and one of my paintings will be part of the National Park’s Permanent collection.
2013 – My painting “Winter’s End” was selected  to be in the Oil Painters of America Salon Show, Petoskey, Michigan
2012 – 2nd place in Third Ward Plein Air Competition (Milwaukee)
2012 – Best in Show Wisconsin Plein Air Painters
2012 – Honorable Mention  Fame Plein Air Event

Solo Exhibition:

2011  Lake Terrace Artist’s Series

  • Plein Air 100%
  • Oil Painting 100%