As his invitation says, “You have met Dan on the beach, come on out to our studio in the woods of Errington and see the results.”
For Dan Gray, he said it’s important for people to see him working in his element.
“My marketing is being out painting, being on the shore and talking to people and they see me at my best,” Gray said.
And being on the shore is where Gray gets most of his inspiration, he said.
“I find myself most at home when I’m standing on the shore of the Salish Sea. When I’m standing in the sand, and I have my tools with me, I’m probably at the best in my life.”
Gray said making a good painting is not his goal.
“I try to make good paintings, but if it doesn’t turn out, I will still have had that experience,” he said. “And I still would have had a pretty good day even when the easel blows over and the rain starts and somebody gets mad at me and tells me to move along. I still have a really good day when I’m working.”
Gray said his current philosophy is about the sharing of emotion.
“This is a human endeavour,” he said. “All of the arts are really sharing of emotion. I try to feel what it is important when I’m on location.”
Gray said he always starts a painting on location, and then brings it back to his studio to work on it the next day before going off to paint again.
“A lot of it is back in the studio with looking, not necessarily working.”
He said one of his tricks to remembering which direction the light was coming from, is marking an ‘X’ on a piece of tape in the corner, so later on he can add the shadows accordingly.
Gray said he’s not a professionally trained artist, and he didn’t go to art school, but he said he was influenced by French Impressionists, specifically Claude Monet.
“I’m not trying to follow him, and I don’t work in that way, but it’s been part of my influence.”
Gray said he’s been working in pastels for the past 45 years, but the last 25 years have just been painting for himself.
For this open studio, Gray said there are pastel works from polar bears to Brant geese. And by polar bears, Gray said he means a pastel piece of the Parksville Polar Bear Swim.
Gray is having an open studio this Saturday and Sunday at his home in Errington.
Gray’s studio (1300 Grafton Avenue, Errington) will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 250-248-5565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website www.dfgray.com.