"The Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship was a life-changing experience. As an educator and full-time painter, the fellowship gave me the opportunity to explore the processes of both."
For the first part of Gayla's fellowship, she took a year off from teaching in order to focus on creating new work. She traveled to Victoria, British Columbia to immerse herself in the beauty and sanctuary of Butchart Gardens. As a result of the trip, she created a new series of paintings exhibited in a solo show in late 2009.
The second part of Gayla's fellowship was "devoted to gaining a better understanding of the process of painting as opposed to the technique of painting." She enrolled in a ten-day workshop led by Michelle Cassou, founder of The Painting Experience, designed to unblock creative potential through self-examination and an "exploration of the mystery of the unknown." She found a new excitement in her paintings and is continuing to learn more about process painting through extended workshops and is teaching a class on this process at the Indianapolis Art Center. Gayla's teaching style changed drastically since her year-long break and the workshop she attended. She now focuses on the process of painting, rather than on techniques and product, allowing her students to feel free to express themselves without judgments or criticism.