Posted: 29th July 2020
Douglas Gray is a painter who specialises in figurative works and bustling city scenes. Gray brings life to his paintings through a careful consideration of light and atmosphere. Gray’s work Rocks Near Scarborough was exhibited in Ferens Art Gallery’s 2020 Open exhibition and was selected for the People’s Choice prize, voted for by visitors.
Ferens: What three words would you use to summarise your art practice?
DG: Technique, composition, atmosphere. In Rembrandt’s words ‘without atmosphere a painting is nothing’.
Ferens: Your work ‘Rocks Near Scarborough’ captures a rocky shoreline in iridescent light, how important is light to your work?
DG: Light in all its many forms creates the atmosphere and mood and is integral to all my paintings. Light gives a scene a three dimensional feel and highlights the texture of elements within the composition.
Ferens: What is the first step you take when you begin a new work?
DG: I start with a sketch and then underpaint. I like to roughly block in tones as this gives me a feel for the work – the details are always the final part of the painting.
Ferens: How do you think having your work in a group show, such as the 2020 Open, changes the way people experience your work?
DG: Group exhibitions are important to connect artists to others, and in particular their viewing audience. The public are provided with a diverse choice of art in all its many forms and styles and this encourages exchanges of opinions, translating experiences across space and time which can even affect the fundamental sense of self. I hope my paintings instil some of these emotions in people.
Ferens: How has your practice changed since lockdown?
DG: To be honest my actual working practices remain the same as before lockdown. I paint almost every day in my studio and that hasn’t changed. In terms of creating, my mind is constantly creating shapes and forms for my future work. However I do miss travelling abroad as I love to visit the places I want to paint, so I’m really looking forward to revisiting France and Italy and other places for inspiration.
Ferens: What gallery, museum or cultural venue are you most excited to visit when it reopens?
DG: I‘m looking forward to seeing the Rembrandt Collection at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I’ve visited Ferens since childhood – it’s a wonderful venue and I’ve always considered the art collection to be of a very high standard. I’ve recently moved near Beverley so I’m pleased I’ll be able to visit the gallery more often.
You can also find more of the artist’s work via the links below: