An Interview with Terry Richardson

Julie Devine interviews Gray Sky member artist Terry Richardson.

Terry, when did your interest in art begin?

My mom tells me I was always an artistic child; drawing, painting, baking, or creating something. But I really began to focus and learn about the principles of visual arts when I was in high school. I was fortunate that my high school had a great photography program, with its own dark room. The first real medium I worked in was black and white photography - when I was 16 I won the Best in Show at the Puyallup Fair for a black and white portrait. I would say that in that dark room, and in those years, my interest developed from something I liked to do to something I felt I needed to do. 

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You have a pharmacy background. Do you find this has an influence on your artwork?

I work professionally as a pharmacist and I spent many years in science laboratories looking at different specimens under a microscope. This is my left brain - analytical and orderly. Art is my right brain. It is the balance to my professional work. However, the images I create today are reflective of the beautiful patterns nature creates, as seen under a microscope. I am also inspired by creating art that is tactile and textural. I love when someone sees my work and wants to touch it. Often people hesitate, but I love to see a timid hand reaching out toward something I created. Touching art is generally considered a no-no, but I think touch is another, often underused, sense that can be part of an art experience. 

Like many artists associated with Gray Sky, you balance an art practice with work and parenting. Can you share any tips and tricks with us? 

Not all creative minds are morning people, but my advice - wake up early! I am most creative between 4 and 7 o’clock in the morning and often I wake up with a concept or idea that pulls me out of bed. Also, I have a lot of help, for which I am incredibly grateful. I rely on my mom to help with my kids, my husband to feed the kids when I get lost in my process and forget to feed them on the weekend, and my dad to help me figure out how to take a new idea from concept to reality (which usually involves his supply of cool power tools) and of course I rely on my friends and family to fill my heart and bring joy and balance to my life, which I need as the foundation to begin any creative process. 

Terry Richardson

What materials do you work with, and have they changed over time?

Today I work mostly with everyday paper materials - books and magazines - creating my own canvas, and I paint on wood-board canvas with several different mediums, like encaustic paint, acrylics, and water color. But yes, what I like to do most has changed over time. I think this is common for a lot of artists. The creative process for me is one of seeing what the materials can do, what I can do with them, and discovering what works and what does not. I still love capturing the right photographic image but today that is just the beginning of a piece, not the end. 

How did you become interested in deconstructing books and magazines? 

It was the mail delivery of the very large stack of Restoration Hardware Magazines! I just felt like it was a waste of paper and I needed to make something new out of it.

Tell me something about your training and influences.

My formal training focused on the standard concepts around visual art design with a focus on the application within photography. I use these concepts today in the construction of any piece, but it began with my high school courses and continued throughout undergraduate courses at UW, although with a shift to acrylics as the primary medium.


How has living in Seattle influenced your work?

Seattle is a wonderfully-creative city. I have several friends who are amazingly creative and successful artists.  If it was not for their encouragement and support I would likely not be showing the art I create publicly. Their friendships and their journeys and experiences as artists in Seattle have encouraged me to take risks, show art in new places, and to share.

What are you working on now?

I am working on taking deconstructing books and magazines at a much larger scale, figuring out ways to create bigger pieces and reducing weight. 

Fundraiser for Queen Anne Food Bank

Gray Sky kicked off the holiday season with a fundraiser for the Queen Anne Food Bank. Thanks to everyone who participated! It was a great success. 

 Purchasing raffle tickets

Purchasing raffle tickets

 Laura Van Horne's minis

Laura Van Horne's minis

 Art by Julie Devine and Anna Mihkails

Art by Julie Devine and Anna Mihkails

 Jewelry and art by Anna Mihkails

Jewelry and art by Anna Mihkails

 Furnishings from Prussian Blue

Furnishings from Prussian Blue

Corrie's New Studio

Gray Sky recently said goodbye to one of its founding members, Corrie LaVelle. We'll miss her high energy, creativity, and sense of style! Corrie's studio is now located in the International District. You can catch up with her at

 One of Corrie's beautiful works, which was auctioned off to benefit Fred Hutch Cancer Research.

One of Corrie's beautiful works, which was auctioned off to benefit Fred Hutch Cancer Research.

 Corrie in front of her new studio at Plank & Grain

Corrie in front of her new studio at Plank & Grain

Fundraiser for Fred Hutch Obliteride

Gray Sky hosted a successful happy-hour shopping event last night.  Guests shopped for artwork by Gray Sky Artists (Laura Van Horne, Corrie Ebel, Julie Devine, Terry Richardson, and Anna Mihkels), clothing by Etcetera, jewelry by Ash+Ames, and lamp shades and eclectic home furnishings from Prussian Blue.  20% of all sales was dontated to Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, along with funds raised from raffle ticket sales. Lovely acoustic guitar, appetizers, and wine added to the ambiance. Thank you everyone who donated time, artwork, food, and talent. And thank you for everyone who came out to support us and Fred Hutch! 


Welcome Back Julie Devine Studio

Gray Sky welcomes back one of its founding members - artist Julie Devine.  Julie will be painting and exhibiting in the gallery. Be sure to stop in and see her newest work. 

  Inlet,  oil on canvas, 40" x 40"

Inlet, oil on canvas, 40" x 40"

  Iskra  and  The Pass , oil on canvas, 30" x 30"

Iskra and The Pass, oil on canvas, 30" x 30"

  The Approach,  oil on canvas, 40" x 40"

The Approach, oil on canvas, 40" x 40"

Introducing Westerly Studio

 Westerly Studio, Magnolia Village, Seattle

Westerly Studio, Magnolia Village, Seattle

Former Gray Sky artists Julie Jacobson and Greta Dutton have joined forces with artist Beth Goodman to open a new art space in Magnolia Village, Seattle. Westerly Studio will be part studio, part gallery, and will offer space for hire and children's art classes and camps. 

Greta, Julie, and Beth, we wish you good luck with your new enterprise! 
          -XXOO Gray Sky

Holiday Gift Making Camp

Some pictures of the projects from our 2016 Holiday Gift Making Camp.

Fun at 2016 Summer Art Camps

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One Year Anniversary Party and Art Show: THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone who came to our one year Anniversary Party and Art Show and to those who couldn't make it but were there in spirit. We appreciate the kind words and support!

 Gray Sky members Greta Dutton, Corrie Ebel, Julie Jacobson, Laura Van Horne

Gray Sky members Greta Dutton, Corrie Ebel, Julie Jacobson, Laura Van Horne

 Shoreline Sunset photograph

Shoreline Sunset

Our guest artist was Melissa McClain. Melissa spent her corporate career in Crisis Management, focusing on Survivor and Family Assistance. Her Water Colors Collection, macro images created from photos of the bottoms of boats, are abstract art with imagination. No matter where the camera takes Melissa, her images have a strong painterly feel and speak to people through color and artistry.

 Into The Mystic, 2016 24 x 24 inches, oil on canvas

Into The Mystic, 2016
24 x 24 inches, oil on canvas

We also welcomed our new member artist Greta Dutton who joined us in January of 2016. She moved from Indiana to Seattle in 2014 and gave up working as a graphic and web designer to focus on painting and her family. Greta graduated from DePauw University with a BA in Studio Art and a concentration in oil painting. She also studied art at Pepperdine University. Greta's art is inspired by moods, moments, memory and her quest to understand life. She loves exploring color and shapes as well as water, floral and atmospheric elements.

As always, our other members, Corrie Ebel, Julie Jacobson and Laura Van Horne had beautiful new pieces of art at the opening. If you weren't able to make it to the opening and wanted to, please email us at to make an appointment. Or take a chance and stop by the studio and see us hard at work.

Thanks again for a fun evening of friends, laughter, wine and art!

An Interview with Ben Alberson

Thanks again to everyone who came out to the January Art Walk to support us and to meet our visiting artist, Ben Alberson.

Gray Sky artist Julie Devine interviews artist Ben Alberson to learn more about his background, methods, and thoughts on creating his digital art.

JD: How did you become an artist - where did you begin?

BA: I was frequently sick and horrible at reading as a kid.  That prompted me to find quiet entertainment.  I think the combination of watching too many cartoons and a vivid imagination made for an avid drawing habit that my parents fostered early on.  it was cheap, quiet, and it kept me out of trouble for hours on end.

JD: Have you always been drawn to fantasy/sci-fi subject matter?

BA: Yes! I think one of the earliest characters I taught myself to draw was Sonic the Hedgehog, but I always had a penchant for superheroes and monsters. I came of age in the era of Pokémon and Batman & Robin. I remember sneaking to the TV late at night to watch re-runs of Star Trek and Xena.

JD: Tell me something about your training and your influences.

BA: I think most artists start with imitation. My influences were heavily pulled from anime and movies in the early years. My dad also made sure that I was a Star Wars fan by the time I was five. When the Lord of the Rings series began in 2001, I was fixated and just old enough to begin exploring its roots in art history; pulling from J.W. Waterhouse, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, and others. Though largely self-trained until high school, I had several very powerful mentors in my late teens and through my years in art school.

JD: What does your creative process look like?

BA: Depending on what sort of project I'm working on, most begin with an idea that strikes as I'm trying to fall asleep. if I get past starring at the ceiling for a couple hours, I know the inspiration will persist until the next day. Often I know the style or genre of an image long before I commit it to screen or canvas. Usually I'll sketch very loose thumbs to make sure I can fully flesh out the concept. A frequent pitfall for me is that once I actually try to draw an idea, I discover that my brilliant notion was for only one small part of a whole character, monster, prop, or landscape. If I can resolve the whole concept then I'll move on to the final image, which in practice is simply the final medium but will inevitably undergo numerous passes to get right--enough. I find that in the case of paintings my favorite works are those I do very quickly. if I can plow through a piece, I don't have time to obsess over niggly details.

JD: How has living in Seattle influenced your artwork?

BA: I've found that industrial and steam-punk references worm their way into my illustrations completely without my intention. I credit Seattle fully with this condition. The other thing that Seattle has done for me is to place me right at the geographic crux of video game and nerd culture. It presents an audience accustomed to game art and sci-fi whose visual vocabulary makes them both perceptive and prone to high standards of originality and or execution.

JD: What have I not asked about that you would like to share with Gray Sky visitors?

BA: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?  I've aspired to be a concept designer for a game or film studio since I was a kid. Some day I hope to see one of my creations taking swipes at a hero on big screen. One of my favorite exercises is to take an old idea and make it new or reinvent it for a different genre.

Late Summer Art Camp was a Hit!

Art Camp was a hit this week!!! The kids has experience with photography, oil pastel, watercolor, acrylic and tempura paint, drawing, 2D and 3D art, as well as mixed media collage with textiles and paper. The students learned about Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollock. Not to mention a scavenger hunt and a little disco dancing on the side!

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Kids Summer Art Show!

We had the final day of kid's art camp followed by a very successful art show!

Fun had by all! The kids got to work with acrylic paint, tempura paint, watercolor paint, polymer clay, paper mache, 2D and 3D mixed media collage, textiles, oil pastel and sculpture. Next camp is August 31 through September 3rd. Space still available- sign up on our website.