Meet Madelaine Gray
An analysis of the subject matter of my photography reveals certain themes, particularly that of architectural details and exteriors of homes, buildings, and community/village street scenes. Like many artists, my creative work is a process of self-expression of what I want in my life and what I value most.
I find that photography is a way to “get up close and personal” and is a way for me to slow down, look carefully and see things that I might have missed if I had been in a hurry or focused on something else. Photography encourages me to “Be in the Now” and to appreciate the moment.
Photography is a way for me to enter the world….to deeply engage in my surroundings. This slowing down process is of great value in my life in general…..to focus on doing what is most important to me…..to decide what is worthy of my time and attention. Photography helps me to listen to and connect with my Inner Spirit….to find out what matters most. Photography helps me to see how others live and teaches me about my inner life as well.
What makes my photography so fresh, interesting and beautiful? It’s because I am passionate about what I see and what I create. When I am emotionally drawn to a subject matter….that’s when I know the photograph will be great. I only photograph what I love….I only do this for myself….I don’t think, “Will this sell?” I only create for myself….for my Inner Spirit. I try to use all of my talents to capture the scene….to visually express what draws my heart to the subject matter.
MY PHOTOGRAPHY CAREER
Basically I am a self-taught photographer….over the years I studied photography on my own, took art classes in college and participated in variety of advanced workshops and seminars. I am still studying and learning because photography is a creative medium filled with potential. With the digital age constantly evolving, being a photographer means that I can experiment and create so many different types of artwork.
My dad was a photojournalist so I am blessed to have inherited some of his artistic talents. We used to debate cameras, lenses, and film….both of us preferring Pro-level Nikon cameras and lenses. He took me on shoots with him for the newspaper. I learned about paying attention to light and shadow and the need to eliminate clutter from the photographic image.
At this point in my life I have over 30 years of experience creating and selling my artwork. I started my business, Madelaine Gray Photography in 1986 and my first sale was a photograph for a book cover! I worked with publishing companies for several years as my photographs were published in calendars, magazines, newsletters, note cards, catalogues and books. It was nice to go into Barnes and Noble and see books with my photographs….a great ego trip!
It is an amazing and satisfying feeling to create art and display my photographs on my website, at stores, exhibitions, and art shows. It is wonderful when someone else also likes and appreciates my artwork and purchases it for their home, business, or as a gift. How good can it get!
In 1988 I started selling my work at indoor and outdoor art shows and exhibitions. I have been on the art show circuit ever since – doing shows in PA, MD, VA, DE, NY, NJ, NC and SC. I sold thousands of photographs at those Mid-Atlantic shows and exhibitions over this time period.
While I lived in Pennsylvania, I was honored to be invited to judge photography competitions at several photography clubs in the area. Over this 12 year period I enjoyed discussing my work with the club members as well as admiring and judging many excellent good photographs created by both amateur and professional photographers
A NEW PATH FOR MY LIFE AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Now I am on a new adventure in my life journey, including my photography. I moved to Florida in October 2014 and this has meant a huge transition of:
* environment – changing from living in the deep woods to living under graceful palm trees and flowering shrubs
* culture – changing from a PA dutch culture to a beach/ocean life-style culture. I love the beach and kayaking!
- * weather – changing from a four season climate – to basically a one season climate – Fl “winters” are fab!
- my photography business – Now I am printing my photographs on canvas and then painting selected areas of some (not all) of the photographs with acrylic paint…..adding texture, highlights, color or design in small areas. This combines my interest in photography and painting. I am thrilled with my new art work.!
My European photographs, which already have an “old world look”, are particularly stunning when printed on canvas that adds texture and softness to the art work. It’s a great artistic fit for presenting my photographs. My collectors and new customers are delighted to have a “new art look” for their homes and businesses.
- social media – I am finally catching up to the world of social media marketing and am working on a Facebook page for my business. Because my art show business was so successful and time-consuming, I ignored the “social media world” and now I want to get with it….and have a Facebook page….more on that later. Please stay tuned! or should I say, stay connected!
IT’S ALL ABOUT COLOR AND “AN OLD WORLD LOOK”
I am of the “Colorist” genre of art….color is a magnet for me and is what first attracts my attention and causes me to stop and consider the artistic possibilities of a scene or to create a still life with found objects. I am absolutely drawn to the power of color. I spend time observing and enjoying the array of colors, patterns, textures, designs, details, shadows and light that I see in old buildings, street scenes, landscapes, and in outdoor European markets.
Since my education and experience was with film, I am trained to spend a considerable amount of time to select my subject matter, to analyze the scene for colors, light, patterns, details, and then to carefully compose and expose the image. Since I am an experienced fine art photographer, most of my images do not need to be cropped or adjusted. On a rare occasion I make typical darkroom adjustments with digital methods of minor cropping, perhaps slightly changing saturation and contrast. I am proud to say that usually I get it right the first time in the camera. I tell people “if you were there when I was there, this is exactly what you would see….this is real”
LOCATIONS OF MY PHOTOGRAPHY
Most of my photography is from the European countryside, particularly the lavender fields and ancient villages of Provence, the region of the south of France.
I have taken ten photography trips to France and have gone to Paris twice on my own….just to spend a fabulous week getting up early in the morning and walking around this incredible city….looking, looking, looking for artistic possibilities. The chic and not-so-chic cafes were a daily stop to have an espresso, rest and observe a “day in the life of Paris.”
Italy is another one of my favorite places to photograph. On several trips to both the Umbrian and Tuscany regions, I have enjoyed the charming villages, street scenes and landscapes of the rolling hills and vineyards….and of course the food is magnificent! I enjoy photographing the layers of architecture found in the medieval hill towns…..many buildings are a trip through history just by looking at the layers of old wood, rock, peeling paint, and in some cases, marble.
Some of my new photographs are from a trip that I took with the Sierra Club in June 2015….hiking from Vienna to Prague. I joined a wonderful group of world travelers and terrific Sierra Club leaders for this trip. Although my knees couldn’t take some of the hikes, the van took me into town which enabled me to spend more time photographing in a country that I had not been to before. A small selection of this new work is now on my website and I will be add more photographs from the Czech Republic later on. I am thrilled about showing this new work….as it is somewhat different from my previous work with more details in every scene and different styles of architecture.
In October 2015 I returned to France for 10 days of fabulous photography opportunities as I joined my good friend, Carol Etheridge on one of her “Best of France” tours. Carol, who lives in Carcassonne, France, has been leading tours for many years. On this trip I joined the tour group for many different types of experiences, including a cooking class, wine tasting at an exclusive winery, visiting historic chateaus, outdoor markets with heavenly scents of spices, and of course walking and exploring the many beautiful hill towns in Provence and the old stone and winding streets of Old Nice. My new photographs of Provence will be on my website a a few weeks.
WHERE TO SEE MY ART WORK
At the present time, the best way to see my work is on my website and at one of my exhibitions. My current exhibition schedule is on this website and will be updated as I add more exhibitions. Please sign up for my mailing list if you would like to receive information and advance notice of an exhibition.
Eventually I may return to the “art show circuit” but for now I am displaying and selling my art work via my website and at exhibitions. This is working out well for me at the present time.
CRITIC REVIEWS AND AWARDS
I have won numerous awards over my long career doing art shows. There is a collection of my photographs exhibited at Washington University in St Louis and in the permanent “Art of Healing Collection” at the Sheppard Pratt Health System in Baltimore, MD. This is a collection curated by Ted Cohen, a San Francisco art curator, who said of my work, “Your work has been an inspiration to me and this entire project.”
Nancy Ungar, an art critic in the Washington, DC area, reviewed my exhibition in Maryland titled “Weathered Beauty: Glimpses of Italy and France”. In a newspaper review titled, “Gray’s Weathered Beauty is a Timeless Vision”, Ungar wrote: “Photographer Madelaine Gray sees past the razzle-dazzle of tourist sites and sentiment. She seeks out the intimacy and simplicity that have made the hills of Tuscany and the villages of Provence home for generations of people for hundreds of years. Gray’s view uniquely reflect the rhythms and colors of these continuously inhabited buildings: the buildings that Gray examines unashamedly display their history in nicks, cracks, and layers of paint.”