Theresa Gray says she works from memory mostly, painting feelings and emotions rather than rendering what is seen.
I met Theresa for a coffee one day last week at the World Cup Cafe, where she told me she came on her first day in Taos, a decade ago and recalled seeing me there, that day.
Clearly her memory serves her well and as we spoke, it was evident that memory is a tool she uses along with brushes, paper and paint.
Although she often works outside, she says she’s more of a participant than an observer, and uses her painting of a great horned owl as an example.
“I was outside one morning and caught sight of the owl in a tree,” she remembered. “I watched it for a minute or two although it seemed much longer at the time, and then i went into my studio to capture what I had seen and the feeling of the moment.”
“I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out.” She said.
“It’s all about capturing a moment,” she continued. “I love moon rises, so I’ll go outside with my paper and paints and I’ll wait until the moment is right and then all of a sudden, it’s done.”
Theresa paints on Arches oil paper or linen, depending on her mood and subject matter.
“If it’s a line I’m after, then paper is what I choose because frankly it’s difficult to get a definitive line on linen.”
Theresa came to painting relatively late in life. Growing up in a small town in Michigan she wasn’t exposed to the Arts as a child and was unaware of her own innate talent until she began sewing and making clothes as a teenager. She discovered she had a knack for design and could construct garments without patterns.
A summer program at Parsons School Of Design in New York would change her life.
“I discovered Art.” She smiled as she recalled her time in the City.
“I returned home and went to Grand Valley State (University), and got my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.”
Theresa first came to Taos a decade ago and like so many others who accidentally wind up here, she was captivated by the place and its inhabitants. In fact it was during that first trip that she met her husband, musician and film protectionist, Peter Halter.
After a whirlwind courtship, she moved here to be with him and the couple live off the grid, dependent on the elements that power their handmade home.
In life as in Art, their commitment to creating beauty from what exists in their immediate environs and living a life in harmony with nature is apparent in the work Theresa makes both outside and in her studio.
Her surroundings and the environment inspires and informs her extraordinary work.
Theresa Gray’s new show, The Practice of Dailyness, will hang at Magpie from June 22 – July 28, with a reception for the artist on July 8th from 5-7pm.
For more information on Theresa please visit her site and for details about her show, visit Magpie’s site, both listed below this post.
All images c/o Theresa Gray