Avila Beach artist and cancer survivor, Colleen Gnos, possesses a deep connection to the ocean. An avid surfer, her heart was captured by the sea from childhood. This connection dates back many generations to the sea captains from the Azores, and to her Portuguese grandfather who arrived in Avila Beach in the 1920’s to dive for Abalone. Having painted for over 20 years, she is an accomplished fine artist and muralist.
Working with a limited palette, Colleen illustrates the journey from darkness to light as her sirens and divers emerge from the depths. Her technique is one that combines tonal painting and glazing. She works with light by using a technique called “optical mixing,” where she builds up the surface with many single transparent glazes so the color is mixed optically. It makes skin tones resonate and gives her waves the clarity of stained glass. She creates darkness in a similar way, by layering rich colors like crimson and ultramarine blue, bringing mood and harmony to the work of art.
Currently, Colleen creates art in her Avila Beach studio, volunteers her time teaching art to school children, supports local cancer survivors, designs wine labels, plays upright bass in a bluegrass band, surfs and occasionally travels for murals. She has been asked to speak at various cancer fundraisers including the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund’s 5K annual fundraiser, encouraging and inspiring cancer patients and survivors alike with her unique journey and the healing she discovered through her own art. As a wife and the mother of two rambunctious little boys, she strives to find a delicate balance between family, art, music and surfing on the Central Coast.
For more information, visit her website at www.colleengnos.com