“As emotions color my perception of people and things, so I color my paintings to express these emotions.” –Louise Grayson
Louise Grayson was a long-time member and volunteer at the Durango Art Center. Her paintings will be displayed in the DAC Entrada May 15-26, 2018. Louise contributed art and won prizes in many of the Durango Arts Center shows over the years, including a solo show, and worked for decades as a docent and as a gift shop volunteer.
Oils by Louise Grayson could be considered a cross between the natural beauty of impressionist Claude Monet and the whimsical humor of illustrator Norman Rockwell. She specialized in landscapes and still life, but is best known for her lyrical, endearing scenes of humans interacting.
On first viewing, Louise Grayson’s paintings fill a viewer with a sense of peaceful color. Her hues attract the eye, her brushstrokes soften the harshness of a busy world and offer a gentle invitation to serenity.
Upon deeper contemplation, the subtle emotional interchange of subjects in her paintings—often humans of all ages and sometimes pet dogs—begin to come alive. Stories are told with whispers of suggestion that amuse and delight, bringing the frailties and ironies of humanity into the gentle spotlight of the painter’s imagination.
Louise Grayson was born in Canton, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in biology. Her interest in art had its beginnings in science classes where accurate drawings were mandatory. However, her study of fine art was postponed for 15 years until she took up painting and drawing lessons while raising her four children. Art proved to be her major interest from that time on.
She eventually described her work as painterly realism. Her paintings demonstrate her skill in composition and design as well as her feeling for harmonious color. Accurate drawing was always an important aspect of her art. However, she deliberately subordinated detail because her goal was to communicate her emotional response to her subjects, and she felt this could be more easily expressed by an impressionistic approach. Balancing these various elements (of drawing, composition and color) in beautifully integrated relationships gave her art its distinctive lyrical quality.
Although Louise enjoyed enormous success with her sensitive depictions of children engrossed in their natural activities, she became equally adept at landscape and still life. She selected landscapes from places she knew and loved, so that her emotional engagement with the scenes is translated onto canvas. Therefore, most of her subjects came from experiences that inspired her in Michigan, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Louise taught art classes at Whiteside Recreation Center and Philbrook Museum School in Tulsa, OK, as well as workshops in Kansas and Michigan. She exhibited in solo shows in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado, won dozens of awards and prizes in art shows over several decades, and her paintings are in private collections throughout the country. She exhibited with the Oil Painters of America and was a signature member of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society. Her portrait entitled Emily was included in Northlight’s The Best of Portrait Painting by Rachel Rubin Wolf.
Louise was born on September 28, 1929 in Canton, OH to Whitley and Lois Moore. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a bachelor’s degree in biology and was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa. There she met and married John F Grayson. She taught school before having children and they moved to Dallas, TX; on to Tulsa, OK; and, then onto Durango, CO upon John’s retirement in 1983.
Above all, Louise cherished her family. While raising her children, she pursued and taught art courses. While in Tulsa, she managed the gift shop at Philbrook Art Museum for a number of years and was one of the eight original owners of Color Connection Gallery. Throughout her time in both Tulsa & Durango, she exhibited her art work in several galleries, including ones in Tulsa, OK; Harbor Springs, MI; Ouray, CO and Durango, CO. She particularly loved painting children.
Her husband, John, died 60 days after Louise passed away, a few months after their 66th wedding anniversary. They are survived by their children: Kathleen Marie (Epp) Brook and her husband, Peter Szydlowski, of Santa Cruz, CA; Susan Grayson Moore and her husband, Matt, of Durango, CO; Nancy Ellen Grayson and her husband, Donnie Francis, of Kingfisher, OK; and, David John Grayson and his wife, Mary, of La Grange Park, IL. She & John have three granddaughters and three grandsons. Her older sister, Rosalie Moore, preceded her in death and she is survived by her younger brother, Frank Moore, of Corpus Christi, TX.