Jane Lee Gray

After retiring in 2007 from the U.S. Department of State, Jane Lee Gray began focusing on her passion, painting. Gray was a Foreign Service officer working in consulates and embassies for 20 years in Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Bahamas and Nicaragua. Originally from Texas, Gray left to get her bachelor of arts in New Mexico. She then headed to Tucson, where she received a master's in Spanish from the UA and fell in love with the Sonoran desert. Gray can be reached at 207-1008 and jgraycj@yahoo.com.

What made you want to paint?

I think it is just something that comes from within. Something will come to me and it has to get out.

How long have you been painting?

Always, since I was a little kid. (But) I didn't have the time to devote to it. So once I retired, I just started painting more.

Did you take any art classes?

Not since high school. I had a wonderful art teacher and I took art two years. I learned the basics. Since I've retired, I've discovered that the more you do it, the more you learn. At least the way I learn is by doing.

What is your process?

The vision has to come to my mind first. Then it is a matter of getting it on paper. Sometimes it doesn't come out how I had in mind, but often it comes out better than what I had in mind.

What subjects do you paint?

I like to paint things, buildings and pets. I do that by commission. I enjoy it a lot.

What medium do you use?

Generally watercolor, but I draw it first in pencil and then I draw it in ink. I will use watercolor, acrylic and sometimes a mix.

Where can we see your work?

You can catch my work through the month of August at Christ The King Episcopal Church, 2800 W. Ina Road. It is free and everyone is welcome. We won't try to convert you. I am also going to do the Chris Bubany holiday market Nov. 9 and 10 at Harlow Gardens.

What is next?

I would like to do a calendar of Tucson. I have (painted) San Xavier, Tumacacori, the courthouse, quails and javelinas.

How much do your paintings cost?

$50 for pets/animals and $100 for houses/buildings.

Do you have any advice for new artists, or people in general?

Follow your heart. And if it takes a while, maybe later on in your life you will finally get to do what your heart tells you to do. That is what happened with me. I loved all my work, but (painting) is my heart.

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