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Richard Ray - Near the Fairgrounds
15 x 30 inches, oil on canvas, 2001

This has been one of my favorite paintings ever since I first saw it on the wall of Richard and Marty Ray's studio while shooting pictures for her DallasArtsRevue Member page. I shot it first then and have used the picture on DARts often and on different pages. It may well still be lurking out there somewhere.

While I was visiting their studio again on the 2002 White Rock Lake Artists Tour, Richard told me he was giving this painting to me, as soon as he could frame it. Because, as he said, I'd given him "a new way of looking at [his] work." I was awestruck at that announcement. I was startled and pleased; a tear tried to crawl down my cheek. What an amazing, lovely gift. Wow! I am still impressed.

Of course, I like it because it's Dallas. I know that ferris wheel. It's one of two that are the largest in the Americas. The other is in Canada. I pass it by on the freeway around downtown often. It is a familiar character in my life. My mother loves ferris wheels, and I've often dreamt of taking her on this one. I've been on it once and took (pre-digital) pictures from the top.

I also know the skyline, although the perspective is odd. The red dollop atop the middle building has to be our pegasus, the symbol of our city, although some of the newer buildings dwarf its mount on the old Magnolia building.

I thought perhaps the view was from back in time, but when Richard happened to visit while I was writing this, he explained that it's a real composition. Only there are some buildings that block the view from where he painted it. What shows really exists, and I was right in assuming the blue, mountain looking bumps between the buildings and the skyline are trees.

More than its location, I love it for its wonderful, pure, happy colors. It really shines on the green wall in my living room — where I visit it often. But when I first shot it there, it acquired a sickly green pallor that took me awhile to figure out. So I took it outside, into brilliant autumn sunshine, hoping to get the colors just right.

I still had to adjust some of the blues in the distant trees and skyline, which are just about perfect in this image. The yellows may be a tad too intense in the rooftops and billowing autumn trees. And the greens along the bottom are actually duller, but this is a fine representation of a fine painting. Unfortunately, your vision on your monitor may vary.

Compared to many of Richard's paintings, where he explores moodily monochromatic palettes, the range of colors here is positively joyous. There's no cast to these colors. No smog, no industrial haze. Obviously, it portrays a scene beyond the Ozone Orange Alert Days we had so many of last summer.

The composition is direct. Gently contrasting the repetitive complexity of the wheel. Like the buildings Richard disappeared to reveal this view, nothing extraneous gets in the way. I love looking at it — it always puts me in a little better mood — and talking about it, and sharing it with friends. 


Both Richard Ray and Marty Ray have their own DallasArtsRevue
Supporting Member pages showing samples of their art.