“Through painting, I have found a way to visually portray the internal emotions I feel in my pursuit of a deeper and more profound relationship with the Creator.” -Marie Gray
For watercolor and oil painter, Marie Gray, spiritual faith is the driving force behind her art. Capturing breathtaking beauty through life observation and sharing it with others allows her to bring attention to perceived insignificant but profound moments in life. “Art is a way of expressing my joy and love of color and the emotion it evokes.”
The focus of her recent work is equine in nature, but portraits and landscapes are also favored subjects. Marie employs attention to detail, use of color and a strong sense of light to give her subjects life. Uncluttered backgrounds draw the eye to the central figure, but also allow the viewer to write their own story into the work for a deeper personal connection. If you want a glimpse into how the artist herself perceives each painting, research the titles. They often tell a story or convey a specific meaning. Equine pieces have Old Testament biblical names that Marie uses to describe the character of her subject.
When she paints, Marie is “constantly thinking and working on the colors and what I am trying to accomplish in my head.” To help the art flow and clear the mind, Marie uses music to create a calming, sacred space to paint; from classical to synthpop but typically instrumental. “I definitely try to paint when inspired. The paintings will usually have more soul.” Working on pieces from 20 x 24 in to 3 x 4 ft, she has a large room in her home as a dedicated studio that allows her to step back and view the paintings from a distance. Larger pieces can take 40 to 50 hours or more to complete, and along with the extended drying time of oils, Marie finds it essential to keep three easels in the space with multiple pieces in progress at all times.
Watercolors and oil paints each have unique qualities that the artist enjoys exploring. For watercolor, “I love working with watercolors because of the gorgeous layers of colors that come out of just letting them run and blend along with the naturally textured paper. Just breathtaking and scrumptious.” For oils, “I like to start with an underpainting because I love to layer and do glazes, often leaving parts of the underpainting visible. With oils I can get vibrant colors and achieve wonderful textures that add so much to the piece.”
Marie paints from the heart and believes an artist can’t fully convey the subject’s character if they are not connected or invested to some extent. She’s had a deep fascination with horses since childhood, but without direct access to horses of her own growing up, she found she could connect and capture their spirit through art. That spirit shines through in her work allowing us to feel the emotion as well. Understandably, Marie forms attachments to the paintings as she pours her time, her heart and intimate emotions into the work. She is happiest when these pieces find good homes where they will be appreciated with the hope they are passed down through generations.
No man (or woman) is an island. Marie expresses her thanks to family and friends who have encouraged her to grow as an artist and pursue her art as a full-time career.
“My family has always been supportive of my work. I would have to thank my husband for allowing me to be able to do my art full time and definitely my Mom. Her constant support from the beginning through all the years always meant so much. Of course my dear friend Angela Friesen for the inspiration her work first inspired in me to begin my journey and high school art teacher Jammey Huggins whose guidance and talent from the beginning helped guide me to where I am today.”
The Dutch Art Gallery is proud to represent the work of Marie Gray. Don’t miss “Art of Equis” featuring the equine paintings of Marie Gray and Suzanne Moseley opening Saturday, September 11th, 2021. The artists will speak about their work at 1pm on opening day. The show runs through October 9th.
by Rebecca Zook