Gray S. Dodson is Tidewater born and bred, and received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Since moving to Nelson County in 1995, she has been a full time painter, working onsite throughout the United States, Canada, France, Italy and Mexico. Her work is represented in numerous corporate and private collections across the country including the U. S. State Department and exhibited in various galleries. Dodson’s paintings have hung in the United States Embassies in Panama and Guyana. She has been awarded fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Vermont Studio Center in addition to a painting fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Her affiliations include the Mid Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association, The Washington Society of Landscape Painters, The Art League at the Torpedo Factory, in Alexandria, VA, and The McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville, VA.
My work is about place and mood. I work on site with oils and French easel, at first painting shorthand notes on canvas in an attempt to rapidly capture the character of a place and the moment that called me there. As the work develops, weather and light conditions may alter, yet I hold in my mind’s eye that first impression and work toward capturing that image. Color and light are extremely important. I adjust them as they relate to each other and the entire composition, often emphasizing the contrasts of lights and darks while relying on my emotional response to the landscape. My intent is to finish a painting while on site, yet when that is not possible, I find taking the work back to the studio for a rest allows me to look at it later with a fresh eye, holding the memory of the event in mind and letting the painting tell me what it needs for completion. I hold a deep reverence for nature and strive to connect with its spiritual aspect.