Colleen Gray Art
Colleen was born in 1962 and grew up in Petawawa, Ontario, Canada. Her mother’s people are Mi’kmaq and Acadian, her father’s people are the smiling Irish. Her family was not raised knowing their culture but Colleen lives and works according to the tenants of Indigenous ways of knowing and being as learned through her Elders and Teachers over the past 30 years.
She has been carving out a niche for watercolour painting on synthetic paper, a reactive and fascinating process. Over the past 7 years, Colleen has pioneered techniques that have paved the way for upcoming artists who are interested in pursuing this medium.
Using influences that stem from obtained knowledge and observations, Colleen works to reflect her experiential understanding of Indigenous spirituality as it pertains to “storyteller art”. All of life carries a story. Each piece of art is accompanied by a life-story that reflects history, shared knowledge and experiences or simply draws the viewer into the world of the characters within the work. The stories are an intrinsic part of the creative process. Copies of the story, a Certificate of Authenticity and a biography accompanies each purchase.
Viewers are pulled deeply into Colleen’s work, often finding themselves searching for the small images and the iridescence glow that seems to appear and shift as though alive within the painting.
Art for Aid
Colleen has been working for over a decade to put quality art learning tools into the hands of Indigenous youth in some of the most remote reserves in Canada. There is a frequent shortage of valuable art supplies in the schools. Recognizing the intrinsic value of art as a tool that invites healing, breaks boredom and ignites the creative spirit, Colleen works hard to ensure that remote community schools have access to much needed art items for their students. In 2019, Colleen received the Governor General of Canada’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteering for her work with Art for Aid.
“Youth should never be denied the opportunity to be creative. The release of endorphins stemming from the creative process has tremendous benefit to individuals in a way that nothing else can match. Creativity is joy, and joy is meant to be shared. But it all begins with access to good creative tools.”Colleen Gray