Artist reviews long, lively life in new book

By Carolyn Grace Matteo


Ninety-year-old author, artist and mother of three, Gayle Grant of La Jolla, recently finished her third book, “My First 90 Years on a Small Planet.” Grant said she considers the book an “art project,” and is happy to have had the creative liberty to include “everything and anything” she wanted in it. And so she has.

The book begins with Grant’s childhood in New York City and ends with a candid confession of her feeling ever so “ill-prepared for aging.” And in between is a philosophical adventure, an intoxicating cocktail of love, life and loss.

While sipping this cocktail, readers will be able to absorb an intuitive understanding of the essence of Grant, the way she is capable of devouring every drop of life that rains upon her as though inside each droplet could be a precious, yet-to-be-revealed truth. A truth, you can be sure, that will not escape her.

Through a collection of quotes and photographs Grant paints a self-portrait suggestive of a deeply complex, yet simple and grounded, yet idealistic humanitarian, with the kind of intelligence that cannot be learned in school. (Although she has earned a bachelor’s and master’s in fine arts from Syracuse University, along with having obtained 200 credits in art and video from UCSD.)

Perhaps this intelligence was gained from traveling to 92 countries, or perhaps it came from having grown up with a father who named his textile business The Invincible Textile Co. Whatever the recipe, Grant’s words evoke a hunger to read on and learn more about the story that is her life.

Sixty-six photographs grace the 100 pages, making for an affordable and memorable vacation from wherever you are reading. The images include Grant’s abstract art, flowers from Hawaii, a safari in Kenya, a temple in Bali, a Jamaican waterfall, Albert Einstein (a friend of her husband’s) and a raft trip in the Grand Canyon,

“My First 90 Years on a Small Planet” took several years for Grant to compile and overflows with some of her favorite quotes woven through the fabric of her experiences.

“I love to quote other people who say what I believe better than I could,” Grant said. These well-chosen words of wisdom, whether uttered by Grant herself or by one of her role models, yank laughter from the heart and tears from the eyes.

One of the better quotes in the book is one of Grant’s own: “I find reality so amazing; I’ve never seemed to need fiction.”

‘My First 90 Years on a Small Planet’ is available at

books.html for $30 plus shipping.