Seeking the Spirit
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"