Terri Gay

About Terri Gay

I'm an almost Arizona native--been here since I was three. I earned a graphic design/studio art BFA at the University of Arizona, then worked nights as a paste up artist until I returned to the UA for a business degree. It opened doors in marketing for retail commerce but I continued my graphics and illustration work.

I kept sketchbooks of travels and outdoor adventures of hiking, camping, rock climbing and more. To stretch my skills, I tackled watercolor since it was portable enough to take outdoors. I was also inspired by Urban Sketchers, an international community of artists who share the joy of drawing and painting in real life and on the web.

Plein air painting lets us enjoy art, the outdoors and each other with social distancing. I was lucky to discover the Sonoran Plein Air Painters (SPAP). They welcome artists to join them at paint outs in the area. Check the events calendar on the website SonoranPleinAirPainters.org. (PS, I’m a board member for SPAP. Good group!)

Sunrise Rocks
Courtyard Welcome
Last Leaves, Blustery Day

Open Studio Tour

About the Process

My plein air paintings are usually completed on site during a single visit. Outdoor painting requires carefully choosing a viewpoint, enduring weather, passersby and insects and working quickly. Changing light conditions dictate shadow patterns and highlight areas, so a great view can dissipate fast as the sun moves.

As a watercolorist, humidity, heat, wind and sun all impact how my medium behaves. I work on paper stapled or taped to Gatorboard (foamboard) since it’s light and portable. My paints, brushes and easel all fit in a backpack so I’m pretty mobile.

Plein air lets me be in a place and survey it deeply. I like to share the moment-- “Here it is, ponder it as I have.” Sometimes a subject is lighthearted, others are stoic or plain. Each is fresher and more lively/truthful than if recreated in studio.

I believe good drawing skills beget good paintings, plein air or not. As a realistic painter I need viewers to relate to something they know or feel. That requires the skill to render objects recognizably but as I interpret them.

How to Purchase

Please contact me by emailing terrigayfineart@gmail.com or call/text 520 488 3960

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