Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I recently jammed with this awesome drummer Dante pictured here in action at a colleagues performance and jam session. Being a folk and bluegrass man I rarely get an opportunity to play my guitar or blow my harp with drummers... let alone jazz drummers like Dante here... man it was fun! As usual it was those blues that brought us all together. I also had the opportunity to draw musicians performing... in action, one of my favorite things to draw! It was a very fulfilling evening that went very late.

Image: ©Copyright Trey Gallaher
8.5x11in. charcoal on paper

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Though it sounds cliche', never forget the power of "play". As I am sure any artist will tell you, making something creative involves playful activity somewhere in the process. Play makes art-making fun activity and not all work even for the most experienced of professionals! Oh yes, it can be serious business too, as many hours can be poured over a canvas with the most delicate of finishing touches, but almost always the process starts with the itching desire to throw some paint around, to experiment, get messy and play. PLAY! Sometimes when we play we spark new ideas we could never have dreamed up on our imaginations alone. Who knows what we might come up with in the world if we just have fun first! In this case a playful portrait.

Image: ©Copyright Trey Gallaher
14x17in. gouache on bristol

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


(The following was excerpted from my essay to my niece Cassidy for her Flat Stanley class project)
Upon Flat Stanley’s arrival to San Francisco and my studio in the Polk’s Gulch district of San Francisco, I was struggling through the dreaded yearly task of completing my tax preparation for the fast approaching deadline of not five days away. Stanley arrived just in time to help me through this difficult and timely process. He was able to point out which deductions I hadn’t yet considered for my return. I am not sure where Stanley learned so much about tax deductions but perhaps in his previous travels he picked up some valuable information that saved me time. YES!

After arriving to the class and getting set-up I introduced Stanley to the drawing students letting them know that Stanley was there to help them with their perspective drawings that day. The class felt reassured and more confident knowing Stanley was there to help. Soon we were diving into the lecture and began to discuss the days drawings, the challenging Grid-Floor Drawing and the Two-Point Perspective Drawing. Stanley was excited and so were the students. One of the more skilled students befriended Stanley and was grateful for his help. Her name was Flat Lequisha. They had a fun time talking about the drawings together.

[...and later]
Stanley helped me set up for the Painting Club, where I was to complete a demo on acrylic painting. I introduced Stanley to the club members who were pleased to have Stanley join us for the demonstration. Stanley helped change my paint water numerous times and was a big help. He asked a lot of great questions and learned a lot about color theory and what brushes were best for painting with acrylic paints. Stanley watched carefully by my side as I painted a portrait of the famous pirate Black Beard. The students had a lot of fun with Stanley and were hoping he would come back someday to paint with them.

The club meeting ended about 7:30pm and by this time Stanley and I had had a long day in the city of San Francisco. We grabbed a quick bite to eat for dinner with another teacher at the Soluna CafĂ© on McAllister Street and were soon back on the 19 Bus headed home towards Polk’s Gultch. We quickly checked the mail box on our way back up to the studio and discovered the long overdue book on Cecilia Beaux the American guilded age painter, written by Alice Carter that had arrived by mail. Cecilia Beaux was a contemporary of John Singer Sargent and perhaps the greatest American woman painter of all-time.

[...and later still]
Before calling it a night, Stanley and I carefully studied the new book and the work of Cecilia Beaux and learned a great deal about her importance in the history of painting, not just in America but throughout the world. Her use of color and soft brush strokes captured a romantic view of the turn of the century (1900a.d.) that was like no other. Stanley and I had a wonderful day working together to help the future animators of the world become better at drawing and painting, and had it not been for Stanley’s help I may not have finished my tax return on time. So here is to Flat Stanley, though he may be flat on the outside, he is far from flat on the inside!

Photos: ©Copyright Trey Gallaher
To learn more about Flat Stanley click --> HERE

Friday, May 4, 2007


When I returned to graduate school after completing my thesis research on such great illustrators as Robert Weaver, Jack Potter, Harvey Schmidt, David Stone Martin and Mia Carpenter; I immersed myself into my love of drawing again. For years I had been concentrating on painting and medium, but when I finally quit my job of four years working for a well known corporation and all of it's perks, I figured if I am gonna go down to the depths of student life again, I am gonna go down swinging with my heart in it at
least. Graduate school for me was not an easy time. Leaving behind the steady paycheck, losing the love of my life of an almost a seven year relationship with my college sweat-heart, and alienating myself from all that was comfortable, I moved from sunny San Francisco to snowy Syracuse and started all over again, and it felt that way. But I had the feeling that if I could survive this, I could survive anything and I would come out the other end sharper and more experienced than ever. The following year and a half changed me in someway and remains stamped on my heart like a badge of courage. I did this drawing of myself back then in my lonely frozen apartment flat off Wescott Street. I had lost a bunch of weight eating as meagerly as I did and was homesick worse than ever. I was reading the biography of N.C. Wyeth to stay inspired.

This week I was talking to a student about the struggles they are feeling living in a cold abrasive city (like San Francisco can be at times) and feeling shut-in, having left behind the safe ground they had known all their lives in search of a dream, in search of hope, and I couldn't help but harken back to my own experiences in Syracuse. It's a struggle I feel everyone must go through at some point in their lives; to be "beat", to be "all time low down, sadness..." as Kerouac put it. It's part of testing what you didn't know you were capable of, to hit rock-bottom and survive it. It is something we can carry within ourselves throughout the troubled times in our lives to remind us what Jerry once sang out, "we will survive...". I am here to tell you as living proof, that you can make it, do not give up the fight but to keep your dreams in front of you and relish the warmth they give you. Remember, the good stuff in life is not whether you become rich, successful, or popular but that you made it count along the way. It's in the little accomplishments, and when you look back you will surprise yourself with just how far you have come.

Image: ©Copyright 2000 Trey Gallaher
14x17in. charcoal and acrylic on paper


I did this as demo for a class last year about the same time I completed an illustration called Family Unit. I was trying to contrast the modern definition with a more historical context. After researching American Indian culture for the illustration I discovered there is a universe of wonderful inspirational material and relics to draw from. I also realized I have a fascination for garments and historical clothing. Everything seemed to be made so much more robust and I have always loved the way clothing reflects the cultural climate of a society. Hats have always done this as well and is one of the reasons I love to draw and wear them. Like a painting they provide a glimpse into another time.

Image: ©2006 Copyright Trey Gallaher
11x14in. watercolor on Arches