Galelyn Williams has said her work is best summed up by a quote from Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole:
“How I have walked, day after day, and all alone, to see if there was not something among the old things which was new.”
Williams takes old photographs and paints or draws fanciful and sometimes dark imagery over them, imagining a dream life or a different identity for the people in the pictures. She says she collected the photographs long before she ever thought of using them for art. She does not start with a specific plan for each piece, but instead uses her “intuition and the inspiration of dreams and myths,” as she has put it, to create each piece.
Williams also assembles found objects and ephemera into sculptures. Her approach to three dimensional work is the same as it is for two dimensional work. She never knows how a piece will turn out when she begins. For her, every piece is an act of discovery or the answer to a riddle. “When I make myself laugh or spook myself,” says Williams, “I know I’ve hit upon a good idea.”
Her award-winning work is in several private and public collections, including the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, the American West’s oldest art museum. She has shown in Sacramento, San Francisco, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York City, and Cold Spring, and her work has appeared on PBS in “Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour.”
She studied at the San Francisco Academy of Art, has been the artist in residence at the Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, California, and studied under David Ireland at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, California. Williams has been a master class instructor for the California Art Education Association and an Instructor with the Women’s Wisdom Project.
She lives in Cold Spring with her husband and a menagerie of spirit guides in the form of her three dogs and three cats.