I was very fortunate to participate in a group show at the James Rieser Fine art gallery in Carmel, a show called “After the storm”. The artists in the gallery are all of my favorites, really talented painters like Kim Lordier, Michael Obermeyer, John Burton, Charles Movali and this guy, Ray Roberts. Ray is a painters painter. If you bring him up in conversation with any artist worth their salt, they all have the same response. They all kind of look up and to the right, off in the distance and nod knowingly with a long “yeah” usually followed by a “he’s really good”. Ray combines the use of great design, great shape making, division of space, simplification of form and an amazing color sense to effortlessly guide the eye through the canvas. No space or shape is not carefully thought out. I looked at this painting for an hour or so and he had 5 or 6 that you could analyze in the same way. He’s not just a painter, he’s a picture maker. He’s got a little N.C. Wyeth and maybe a pinch of Maynard Dixon in him, but he still has a very unique voice. Jim Rieser said that while he paints fast he takes a long time to get to the painting, thinking about it for weeks.
What I love about this painting is how the river of flowers is crafted to flow over the turning field and back to the distant hills. It’s a very complicated and difficult thing to do making a bunch of orange and yellow notes read this way. I saw the painting at first in the evening when the lights were out and all I could see was the shape of the flowers and the shape of the trees in the distance. I thought, man this guy knows his stuff. I was talking with a couple of great local painters and the thought came up that there’s a lot of homogenization going on in the plein air movement. People are all starting to sort of copy each other or use some of the same tricks so when you flip through an art mag, it’s hard to tell them apart. Ray is a stand out in my book.