Seek­ing the Spirit

Arabella - - NEWS - Brett An­ning­son

writ­ten by There is some­thing dream-like that leads you into a Ray Ward paint­ing. A sense that there is some­thing else, ly­ing just be­yond the hori­zon, which you can­not yet see. Stun­ning real­ism given a depth that goes be­yond sight; al­low­ing the viewer to ex­pe­ri­ence how the artist feels the scene. "As a rep­re­sen­ta­tional painter, I am al­ways try­ing to bal­ance artis­tic ex­pres­sion with be­ing truth­ful to my cho­sen sub­ject," Ray ex­plains. "I think the paint­ings that most suc­cess­fully com­bine th­ese qual­i­ties are the ones where tech­ni­cal as­pects aren't stum­bling blocks, there­fore al­low­ing me to fo­cus on cap­tur­ing what I per­ceive to be the spirit of a place. I want view­ers to get a sense of that. As I con­tinue to grow as a painter, I as­pire to be more ef­fi­cient and skill­ful at con­vey­ing my vi­sion with paint." His ear­li­est artis­tic in­flu­ence, Robert Bate­man, has re­mained Ray’s strong­est in­flu­ence. Soon af­ter, he dis­cov­ered other pain­ters like Alex Colville and Winslow Homer. As his artis­tic thought pro­gressed, Ray found him­self drawn to 19th-cen­tury land­scape art, par­tic­u­larly Fred­eric Church of the Hud­son River School and Rus­sian land­scape pain­ters, such as Ivan Shishkin. Other 19th-cen­tury artists he that they achieved such high qual­ity with­out the tech­nol­ogy avail­able to­day is even more as­tound­ing. My goal is to get as close as I can with my art to that de­gree of paint­ing." He adds, "I am in­spired by na­ture and the beauty of the chang­ing land­scape; by light, sea­son, time of day and weather. I revel in the fact that I can walk to the same place dozens of times in a month, sea­son or year and it's dif­fer­ent ev­ery time. It pro­vides me with plenty of ma­te­rial to work with when I find a spe­cial place to visit. I thank my dog Java for help­ing me find th­ese places – he de­mands at least two walks a day and we of­ten search for new places to ex­plore to­gether. I have a life­time’s worth of ideas for paint­ings right here where I live, one of the most beau­ti­ful places on earth, but there are other places I want to paint too, namely other parts of BC, Alberta and the US."

It All Comes Nat­u­rally

Ray grew up in the Co­mox Val­ley of Bri­tish Columbia on a five-acre hobby farm. His par­ents were not par­tic­u­larly artis­tic, but Ray’s dad could

left, Frozen Over, Cot­tle Lake, oil on board, 14.5" x 8" left, Ebb and Flow, oil on can­vas, 10" x 30"

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