'DAILY ART' BLOG
- Tim Marsh
- For The Observer
Don Gray must like extremes.
The artist and Eastern Oregon native has created huge murals on buildings across the country. Now he's busy creating postcard-size paintings nearly every day from his studio in Murrieta, Calif.
Gray recently discovered daily painting web logs (blogs, for short) where artists both emerging and established offer small original paintings less expensively than through galleries. He liked the idea so much he's launched his own blog, www.dailyartwest.com.
Gray, who was born in La Grande, left the Grande Ronde Valley for Arizona in 1994 and located to Murrieta seven years ago. Now he plans a return move to Northeast Oregon, hopefully by early summer.
"We spent three weeks in the valley visiting family recently and took drives all over the region," the artist said. "Every place I went had a story connected to it in my memory; it made me realize how much this place is in my bones."
More or less on a daily basis, Gray posts a painting, usually oil on board, measuring 5 x 7-inches or 6 x 6-inches. Each painting sells for a fixed $125 price only through the blogsite.
"These paintings would normally sell for about $500 apiece," said Gray.
The artist sees his blog as a way to connect him with those who love art but can't afford higher prices. It's a way to "re-include" those who might have felt excluded, as well as perhaps open the door for new or beginning collectors.
His wife, Brenda Gray, elaborates, "Don always has people coming up to him and saying, Â‘I wish I would have bought a painting way back when, when I could afford it.' As an artist's reputation and prices grow over time it's always hard for a new collector or a collector on a budget to buy an established artist's work."
Gray says these small paintings document his "everyday life Â— landscapes seen while walking the dog, trips to the beach, objects laying around the house, the way the light strikes a tree or building and so forth."
Other subjects include an ongoing series of paintings of his own brushes.
"I paint them almost as if they were portraits of family members," said Gray. "The paintings are of things I know and love, maybe not earthshaking, but personally meaningful. They are imbued with my experience of being born and raised in the West and depict the places where I live and have lived."
Gray's oil and acrylic paintings range from realistic scenes, to portraits, to contemporary inspirations. He has shown extensively in the Northwest, including the Portland Art Museum and the Frye Museum in Seattle.
Besides the daily painting blog, his websites include dongraymurals.com (murals and realist paintings.) and dongraystudio.com (contemporary paintings).