Gail Postal’s Fantasy Life

Meet Maria. Don’t you love the froufrou? Maria didn’t pose like this; she posed nude. Gail Postal took her home and dressed her up.

Maria, 18 inches x 24 inches

Ariel gives you a better glimpse of how Postal does it:

Ariel, 24 inches x 36 inches

First Postal draws the figure from life using graphite on an Ampersand Gessoboard, initially sketching the whole body, then carefully working on the head, then perfecting the details and proportions of both. The model poses for ten to fifteen 3-hour sessions. Look at her first steps drawing Connie:

Connie #1

Connie #4

Now for the fantasies. Postal turns the background into glowing gold.

Connie #5

For Postal, “color is pure joy,” so next, using a limited palette, she adds layer after layer after layer of bright pigments. The paintings can take weeks or months because each layer of  the transparent oils she prefers can take days to dry and she needs many layers to achieve the vibrant intensity she loves. Color, patterns, glitter, sometimes actual jewels (like the red crystals in Connie’s earrings) and, voila:

Connie #12, 24 inches x 36 inches

Gail Postal’s style has been inspired by Russian icons and Fra Angelico; by Persian miniatures and Japanese hand-tinted photos. Her portraits are “contemporary sacred icons.”

Autumn, 24 inches x 36 inches
Rios III, 24 inches x 36 inches 
Leslie and Rachel (triptych), 56 inches x 36 inches 
Benat, 24 inches x 18 inches
Erin, 18 inches x 36 inches

Postal is also adept at still life and what she calls “poultry:”

Pears with Orange, 12 inches x 19 inches
Bird, 24 inches x 12 inches

Let’s end with an exclamation point of a painting:

Marisol, 18 inches x 36 inches


At twenty years old Gail Postal made the practical decision to postpone her desire to pursue a life as an artist and became an elementary school teacher. She maintained her passion for art by going to museums and galleries, buying art, taking art classes during summer holidays and weekends, and getting her doctorate at Fordham University in Educational Research with an emphasis on developing creativity in children. Postal retired from teaching in 1999 and plunged headlong into her own work practically 24/7, 12 months a year, taking class, converting the living room of her apartment into a studio and painting or drawing whenever she could. Her work has been in more than 200 solo and juried group exhibitions in museums, galleries, universities and art centers; she has received more than 50 awards. Postal is determined to make up for those 35 years that she wasn't making art.


  1. Gail, your work is inspiring and all its own creative delight. How lucky those students were to have you, and how lucky we are to have you back, painting as much as you can and wish.

    Five years after retiring, I discovered that painting not only delighted me, but eased my pain from a severe spinal problem as no medication could. At the same time lines for original poetry woke me up in the middle of the night. I am still doing both. How I wish I could muster the mastery you bring to your work!


  2. Gail, these are simply beautiful, an unexpected pleasure as I open into the reading…
    and a reminder about the Joy from committed work. To your health!

  3. Hi, I enjoyed Postal’s artwork very much. I too posphoned my writing until later because of working, but now that I’m retired, I can dedicate more time to getting better at the craft of writing and look forward to more hours of discovering what I can do.

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