Renowned Los Angeles watercolorist and illustrator Gayle Garner Roski passed away on Oct. 21, 2020. She was 79.
“We are deeply saddened by the great loss of our dear friend and colleague Gayle. Gayle was a gifted and creative artist, a philanthropist, a caring and supportive friend, and a beloved member of our publishing family,”Â said Icy Smith, Publisher of East West Discovery Press. “Our hearts are with her family members at this unimaginably difficult time.”
Roski was well-known for her bold and vibrant watercolor paintings. Her works of art have been featured in museums and galleries around the globe. She was the award-winning illustrator of five children’s books published by East West Discovery Press: Earthwaves (2019), Mystery of the Giant Masks of Sanxingdui (2015), Endeavour’s Long Journey (2013), Thomas the T. rex (2011), and Mei Ling in China City (2008). These diverse titles have helped educate children on topics ranging from science to little-known history.
An avid world traveler, Roski enjoyed sketching the sights and experiences as she explored some of the most remote parts of the globe with her husband, Ed. In 2000, she dove 12,000 feet to the bottom of the ocean to view the remains of The Titanic and then painted the ruins of this infamous historic ship on a submarine. Other adventurous explorations included diving into uncharted waters off Papua New Guinea and climbing to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Roski’s passion for documenting lives and cultures beyond borders not only helped to foster inclusivity but also to change lives. In 2017, Roski traveled to Guatemala to follow the journey of volunteer doctors participating in Operation Walk, which gives its patients a second chance at life. She based her illustrated work The Crooked Man, His Doctor and His Angel on the true story of Rogelio Estrada, who received the gift of mobility through a pro bono knee replacement surgery provided by Operation Walk.
Roski’s most significant undertaking was her Los Angeles Millennium Series, developed over the course of 20 years to pay tribute to her native city by documenting historical landmarks throughout Southern California. All 44 paintings in the series, along with stories from Roski’s life, will be published in the book The Gift of Los Angeles. Roski viewed this book as her contribution to the visual history of the city she loved, in hopes of inspiring future generations to embrace the City of Angels as much as she did.
Roski bridged her fine-art career with civic dedication by heading public art projects throughout Los Angeles, including the inspirational A Community of Angels sculptural project. Roski served as a Commissioner for the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and on the executive boards of the Los Angeles Cathedral, the California Art Club, and the University of Southern California School of Art and Design which bears her name.
“Her legacy will be carried on with her contributions to the art world. We are forever grateful and honored to have collaborated with her on our books that have touched the hearts of readers around the world,”Â Smith added. “We’ll miss the presence of her generous spirit and uplifting voice every day.”
To learn more about Gayle Garner Roski, please visit “A Message from the Roski Family” at https://gaylegarnerroski.com/category/news-events/.
As an expression of sympathy, the Roski family has asked for donations to be sent to the Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS at give.augiesquest.org/roski.
In Memory of Gayle Garner Roski
1941 – 2020