The life of Linda Howe Hale ended in tragedy on March 2, 1981—a single engine, commuter aircraft crashed near Fallon, Nevada, taking the life of its pilot and Hale, a well-known Reno artist and writer. Hale's career had many dimensions. She was an award-winning exhibitor and administrator in galleries around northern Nevada and the author-illustrator of a respected children's book.
Born in 1929, Hale was the daughter of a Washington, D.C. architect. She studied art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh and, in New York City, with Taro Yashima, a Japanese expatriate and noted author-illustrator of children's books. Prior to coming to Reno in 1962, Hale exhibited in the Bay Area and was a member of the Marin Society of Artists.
Hale and fellow-painter Mary Lou Anthony, sensing that Reno needed a showcase for contemporary artists, began sponsoring monthly shows in a stonework house rented from artist-photographer Gus Bundy (1907-1984). The Pine Ridge Gallery was located in southwest Reno and existed for only a brief time. The excitement it generated, however, led to the formation of the Pinon Gallery, a cooperative that flourished for more than a decade in a several locations around Reno.
Hale's paintings in oil ranged from portraiture to landscape to abstraction. It is difficult to summarize her body of work from a stylistic point of view. The artist was constantly seeking new ways of expression. At times, Hale's portraits seemed labored, her subjects couched against dark, barren surroundings. Her airy floral studies, on the other hand, were executed with lively brushwork and light warm colors. Hale's occasional forays into non-objective images were not sustained; it didn't seem to be a comfortable means of expression for her.
The Glorious Christmas Soup Party (1962) was Hale's appealing story of the tribulations of a family of mice during the holiday season. Its humor was gentle, the mice deftly drawn with graphite pencil. Shortly after Hale's death, the Annual Art of the Children's Book Festival on the University of Nevada, Reno campus established a prize for children's book illustration in Hale's name.
At the time of her death, Hale had been flying regularly to Eureka, Nevada, to work as a designer/consultant on a project to revitalize the galleries of the Eureka Sentinel Museum.