Who is Gretchen?
Gretchen Markle has got around. She went to French Schools long before there were any immersion programmes. She studied biology and forestry, travelled, worked in illustration, geological exploration and teaching before turning to fine art.
Similarly, she has lived in wideflung places. She was born and raised in Northern Ontario, where her early years were spent on the North Shore of Lake Huron. In 1976, she moved to Vancouver Island and the Pacific Ocean. In 2010, she moved to the South Shore of Nova Scotia. In April, 2012, she moved back to her beloved Vancouver Island, taking with her wonderful memories of the Atlantic coast. Finally, in 2013 she moved to Gabriola, a beautiful island just off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island in the Salish Sea. Now she is back on the ‘big’ island.
In 2016, she and her husband sold their home so that they could do some much delayed travelling. Over the next few years, they visited Washington State, New Zealand, Wales and France. When she could, she did sketches of the local scenery. During the COVID spring of 2020, she kept a journal of her daily visits to Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park in Metchosin. The journal has since been turned into a book, A Journey, A Journal, as a fundraiser for the Metchosin Foundation.
The wild beauty of her homes has had a profound and lasting effect on her art making. As well, the presence of large bodies of water has been an abiding influence on her perception of light and movement. Her moves have presented her with new vistas and shapes and forced her to adapt her art making.
Because of her deep connection with the natural world, much of Markle's work is landscape. Whatever their genre, her pieces are an attempt to move beyond the boundaries of mere picture making to a consideration of deeper issues: a tribute to the beauty of nature, a feeling of wonder at its complexity, and a sense of responsibility for its survival.