Oliver Ray – It’s About People

Oliver Ray – It’s About People

Oliver and Christie Ray moved from the province of British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, a lush agricultural landscape with it’s rich red soil and pastoral beauty. The rolling hills, woods and beautiful sandy beaches was their dream destination to raise their two adorable children, Caitlin and Dylan. Their plan was not for the faint of heart though! Oliver and Christie ambitiously purchased and subsequently renovated a 100 year old church to be their home, studio and office, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that they had no experience in construction.

Oliver and Christie Ray with Caitlin and Dylan

Occasionally ones eyes will catch sight of something that truly makes them stop and take notice. It is something so out of the ordinary that it seems to stand on its own in its dissimilarity from anything else. That was what I felt when I first saw a painting by Oliver Ray! My eyes were drawn to a style of painting that even Oliver wasn’t sure how to describe. Impressionism? Abstraction? Expressionism? Oliver says that there may not be an “ism” to describe what he paints but he can tell us that he was influenced by west coast aboriginal art and the colour blocking techniques that they utilize.


Oliver’s subject matter is borne from catching sight, not of something, but of someone in a certain context that makes him stop and take notice. Unlike Oliver’s paintings though, these people are not out of the ordinary, rather they are everyday people in everyday situations where he might be capturing a thought, mood, special moment or emotion within them, leaving one to wonder, “What are they thinking?” or “Who are they waiting for?” There is certainly no mistaking the clarity of the context; the knowing glance, the emotional embrace, the joy of the dance, the feeling of satisfaction…or melancholy, emanating from Oliver’s subjects.

The Dancers

Painting people in different situations. Before we met Oliver we wondered what type of person he was and why this was a prevailing subject matter. We then learned that he had run for office and had also spent time in the military. We also learned of his concern for parents having to spend a lot of time away from home in far off provinces just to earn a living to support their families. After meeting Oliver and Christie, we can see that they genuinely take an interest in people, and Oliver’s paintings are an expression of those that he sees around him, touching his heart in some way or another.

Old Friends

Click on the small images below to make them big!

Join us with Oliver as he gives us some insight into his world of painting!

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