Don Gray's earliest inspirations came from the landscape of his childhood in rural northeast Oregon. He studied art at Eastern Oregon University, training his eye and hand in traditional techniques that resulted in meticulously rendered realist paintings. After graduation in 1970, Gray taught high school art for one year, before beginning a professional art career. He exhibited widely in the Pacific Northwest, developing a regional following for his landscapes and figures.
Around 1985, the artist began exploring other directions in his work, resulting in paintings that moved beyond literal realism to incorporate an increased sense of abstraction. Today his work is broadly based, ranging from a precise but painterly traditional realism to energetic combinations of abstraction and representation.
Since 1994 Gray has divided his time between studio work and numerous mural projects across the United States and Canada. Many of these are large exterior paintings that deal with regional history or events. He has also begun keeping an online journal, Daily Art West, where he posts his small daily paintings and commentary. A selection of his larger paintings can be seen at Charleston House Gallery, in Montgomery, Alabama.
Don Gray has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States. He has also taught occasional workshops and college-level courses and illustrated over twenty books. He and his wife Brenda live in Union, Oregon.