About Author Gail Ingis

Author, Blogger, Historian, Writing happily ever after, one book at a time.

Finding Nemo

Why? Did your painting journey uncover a secret? Although Bierstadt’s work is now noted as brilliant, I discovered that Mark Twain did not like Bierstadt’s work, I discovered that his teachers’ in Germany thought he was an inept painter, I discovered that he married his traveling partner’s wife. Oh, oh, oh no, simple times, innocent me. Did I really have to write a story, a book, a novel no less? I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

In my careers, I have written catalogs and lectures, and even letters, but a novel, not possible. I began writing, just for fun…it was not fun. How in the world do I do this?

All I wanted was to tell the story of this 19th century debutante, who left her husband for another man, in times when that kind of thing was unheard of. Sure, there was good reason, there had to be in those days when even the sound of the word, DIVORCE, had folks cowering and covering their ears.

Three writers writing

Then, on one fateful winter day, I heard about three writer’s giving a talk at my local library. I reserved a seat right away. It was the first time I’d been around other people who had writing on their minds. It totally changed my world.

When I decided to pursue writing, I studied every single thing I could find about the business, worked with a critique partner, critique groups and two editors, and studied as much as I could about the craft of writing.

A couple of months after releasing my first book, I made the jump into audio after an author friend recommended actor Jane Oppenheimer to narrate. It was something my busy readers wanted, another way to read a story, listen while you work.

Focusing a section of my marketing efforts towards the sale of my audiobook has helped with my success. Giving out the free download codes that ACX provides with each audiobook release is a great way to build buzz among your readers about a new release and to encourage reviews. You can find me on social media.

This huge, mural type 10’x15’ painting was finished in 1867 and hung in Mr. Lockwood’s Mansion in Norwalk, CT, until Mr. Lockwood died four years later. The painting was sold to an auction gallery for a measly $5100, originally Mr. Lockwood paid $25,000, that was in 1867, Imagine? I wanted to get it back from the St. Johnsbury Atheneum, Vermont, but that was not possible. The director gave me prints, pictures, and images and permitted me to photograph the painting.

My work is 24×36″, dwarfed by the original below.

Domes of Yosemite (Ode to Bierstadt) 24×36″ Acrylic/Canvas Ingis Claus

Amazon Author page:

Look at tiny me, next to the Bierstadt painting

Indigo Sky in 3 formats Print Book, eBook, Audiobook




This post comes from Painter’s Keys, Robert and daughter Sara Genn (Sara has been carrying on since her Dad passed), these letters are awesome. I have been subscribed since 1997. Each letter is informative, intellectual, and encouraging to artists and writers alike. Anyone can subscribe. See link below.

The quiet town of Jokkmokk (pop. 8000) in Swedish Lapland has been the subject of considerable study. It seems that most of the schoolgirls there are smart and most of the schoolboys are not. Experts have taken a look at the gene pool, relative brain capacities, corpus callosum deviations, family dynamics, even teaching methods in the schools. Things seem about the same as most other Swedish towns. But for several generations now the girls get the marks and the boys drop out.


oil painting by Swedish painter
Emma Ekwall (1838-1925)

What’s going on? Hunting, fishing and forestry are Jokkmokk’s main industries. Young men have traditionally made their living in the bush or on the water. Young women, perhaps responding to some faintly understood genetic need, or just realizing that they need to get out of the place, use good grades to gain their exit. The girls work harder. The boys goof off.

It’s called The Jokkmokk Effect when one group or another moves away to the big city, travels abroad and “makes something of themselves.” Jokkmokk girls have rocked the world by becoming scientists, financiers and artists. Albert Einstein said, “One of the strongest motives that lead to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness.” It’s all about desire. “Desire,” said Benedict Spinoza, “is the very essence of man.” Desire and the intention to do something are more important than brains, wisdom, or even talent. In IQ tests, Jokkmokk boys are just as smart as Jokkmokk girls. Georges Braque said, “The only thing that counts is intention. What counts is what one wants to do.”


oil painting by Emma Ekwall

In many cultures The Jokkmokk Effect applies more to men than to women. Men move away to seek their fortune, find work, and find their way in the world. Women, on the other hand, by biology or by choice, keep the home fires and raise the kids. Through all of this there’s the precarious balance of self-realization and social obligation. Artists of both sexes — particularly these days when the free-self has become such a popular goal — feel the tug from both sides. Back in Jokkmokk there’s a shortage of women and the population is in decline. One wonders how happy they are. The boys are out in the boats. Mark Twain noted, “If you want to be happy, learn to fish.” When you think of it, fishing is a lot like art. “Some days there ain’t no fish.”


oil painting by Emma Ekwall

Best regards,


PS: “There is one big thing — desire. And before it, when it is big, all is little.” (Willa Cather) “Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Esoterica: “Brain drain” and “talent drain” are part of the phenomena of globalization. One thinks of the magnetic appeal and opportunities of Paris or New York. Theoretically, we visual artists need not be tempted. Jokkmokk might be quite a good place for creativity. The instrument you now see before you is a window to the world. Through its keyboard you can learn, teach, grow, play, buy and sell. It can be an instrument of your desire.

This letter was originally published as “The Jokkmokk Effect” on March 22, 2005.

emma-ekwall_girl-with-cardsDownload the new audio book, The Letters: Vol. 1 and 2, narrated by Dave Genn, here. Proceeds of sales contribute to the production of The Painter’s Keys.

“Motivation is in the world around us. We have an infinite amount of material at our disposal, in the lives of those we meet, in what we see and feel, in what we discuss and from the passion of every woman.” (Pablo Picasso)




After four desperate tries for my latest writings, a sequel to my Indigo Sky, I finally nailed down ideas in the form of a synopsis. I know, I know, a synopsis is supposed to be, well, sort of like a short story–beginning, middle and end. How do you write this thing without the story? Created as the preliminary to an outline, I left out the unnecessary, and kept in the necessary. In other words, my synopsis left out the B-ST.

Stephen King

Maybe what Stephen King says in his book,”On Writing” in his Second Foreword, is true, This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with B-ST. Fiction writers, present company included, don’t understand very much about what they do–not why it works when it’s good, not why it doesn’t when it’s bad. I figured the shorter the book, the less the B-ST. King suggests that every aspiring writer should read The Elements of Style. Rule 17 in the chapter titled “Principles of Composition” is “Omit needless words.” I tried to do that in my short synopsis, maybe three pages double spaced, based on someone’s probable expectation. Enough of this, I can see your eyes rolling from here.

So now how to create that outline? I am about to–finally–learn how to use Scrivener, created for us (writers) to outline. Wish me God’s speed . . . (Audio) (Trailer)

indigo sky cover6x9 72res.jpg (buy link)






Sleep always feel more important in the morning

What do you do at 3:00 a.m.? Shhh, someone might be asleep, not us. We set our alarm and were up to watch tennis, the 2017 Australian Open in Melbourne. We didn’t want to miss one stroke, from 3:30 a.m. to  9:00 a.m–for two weeks. And that was after watching from 9:00 p.m. to sometimes 1:00 a.m.

As the tournament was reaching its climax, it got more difficult to stay awake. So, we had a meeting of the minds, and decided that going to bed around 8:00 p.m. was at least a way to get in a couple more hours of sleep. When it was all over we had to come down from that high watching our favorites win. And get some sleep!

Serena William’s 23rd Tennis Grand Slam





“There was a great deal at stake for Serena Williams in the Australian Open final, far more than having to push aside her older sister” said USA Today journalist Sandra Harwitt. “For Serena, the 6-4, 6-4 win Saturday to hoist the Australian Open trophy for a seventh time establishes a record. At 35, she is the only player–man or woman–to win 23 Grand Slam tournament singles titles in the open era.”

Venus & Serena Williams sisters

Serena is thrilled. She said she feels like she has been chasing it for a long time. Once it got on her radar, she knew the possibilities. She finally succeeded at the Australian Open this year.

Roger Federer

Rising to the top is tough, but the journey leads to a joyous finale. Experiencing the win gave Roger his 18th Grand Slam. I love what Sandra Harwitt, USA Today journalist said, “So when experiencing a great victory, a champion tries to store the grand achievement, in slow motion, in his memory bank.


Nadal & Federer

At least that is how Roger Federer, 35, suggests he handles the milestones of his life, including his latest successful quest of glory — 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win Sunday against Rafael Nadal, 30, his oldest rival in the game, in the final of the Australian Open.”

Rafael Nadal & Rod Laver. The stadium was named after Laver






Tops in tennis. How many faces can you name?

Tennis–one of my successful careers as a teaching pro, and member of the USPTA. FYI, in order to be a USPTA member, you have to pass a written and on-court exam. A member of the organization for forty years, they have awarded me lifetime membership. They commissioned me to paint a scene for their 75th anniversary in 2002. The painting is in Houston, TX at their national headquarters. Players in the painting are Jimmy Connors, Chrissy Everett, Jack Kramer, Roscoe Tanner, Billy Jean King, Pam Shriver, John McEnroe, Peter Fleming, Arthur Ashe, Fred Perry, Rod Laver, Althea Gibson, Stan Smith.

USPTA wc by Gail Ingis








Indigo Sky Audio, Print and eBook:  Amazon:






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