The artwork of Ray Kingsbury reveals his passion for travel and adventure. A review of his work is a journey through the streets and canals of Venice, the mountains of Alaska, the grandeur of Yosemite, the culture of the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, the color of Burano and the uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands, to name just a few. His artistic process starts with a photographic image that is then transformed into a unique work of art.
Many images were taken from a kayak or sailboat, or while hiking or biking through locations around the world. The work invites the viewer to be part of the journey and feel and experience the many beautiful landscapes, architecture and people on this globe we share.
Ray grew up in a suburb of Houston, Texas and was an active child playing basketball, baseball and football, riding bicycles and camping. He was also an active reader and especially enjoyed stories of travel and adventure. “We did not travel much or far when I was a child, so my adventures and travel came through the stories I read until I became an adult.”
There were signs of his artistic interest at a young age with a short-lived pursuit of drawing and an interest in photography that started with an Instamatic 110 camera and continued into high school. Ray pursued several hobbies through his life including sailing, golf and endurance sports and completed several marathons and triathlons. His passion for photography started as a way to document his travels. “Outside of art, travel is my biggest passion.” He has always had a fascination with travel and adventure. This started at the young age of 13 when he "borrowed" his parents’ car and drove 60 miles to the coast. Today this wanderlust is pursued through sailing, hiking, biking, and kayaking in locations around the world.
His early artistic interest gave way to a focus on his business career where he has spent the majority of his career in the private equity business, working with companies around the country. Ray has been President, Chairman or served on the board of over 15 companies through his career. “My career requires a great deal of travel both domestically and sometimes, internationally. While the work is not artistic, the rich experiences of people, products and places provide a great foundation for my artistic pursuits. I consider this work to be a great adventure.”
Ray’s mother is an accomplished plein air painter and exhibits her work in several galleries throughout the country. She pursued her painting career later in life, after Ray had left home. “Although I did not fully recognize it when I was young, she always exhibited a high degree of creativity through sewing, baking and other crafts. My bedroom was "famous" amongst my friends in middle school for the geometric mural she painted on my wall.”
Photography provided the first artistic outlet for Ray and continues to be the backbone of his work but the desire to create more artistic images drove him to experiment with digital art. By painting images digitally using photographs, he is able to reflect the mood and feelings experienced through his travels and journeys. This started by learning creative photographic techniques such as long exposures, selective blur, etc. He then began to add textures to his images. Finally this developed into creating full-scale digital paintings starting with his photographs and ending with up to 100 layers of photos, textures and other content. Ray further developed his artistic abilities by studying under Sebastian Michaels, Harold Davis, Mike Mezeul, and Tony Sweet.
Every piece of artwork is a journey, evolving, with no clear end in sight. This organic process may take a few hours or evolve over days, weeks or even months. Putting down a piece and picking it back up, seeing something different, taking it a different direction. Many of these living pieces are growing at the same time, each taking on a life of their own. Just like one’s children, a parent tries to guide and direct them along the way, but ultimately they choose their own path, and most of the time you marvel at the end result. It has a part of you but is still independent and stands on its own. “My travels provide a rich treasure of material to work and I rediscover images from trips many years ago that speak to me, bring back fond memories of those travels and start me on a new journey of creation.”
Ray’s wife, Rosie, is a major part of his artwork. High school sweethearts and married young, they grew up together and share all parts of life together. “Rosie is an important part of my creative process. She knows me better than I know myself, is my constant travel companion, and helps me shape and craft my work to convey the mood and feeling that I seek.” Their studio name is RK2 Studio, representing the exponential effect of Ray and Rosie’s influence on each other. They currently live in Southlake, Texas but are building a “studio in the sky” on the 11th floor of a condominium overlooking the 8,000 acre Lake Grapevine and will enjoy incredible sunsets from their balcony. “My goal is to express my creativity, to create works of art, to capture the beauty and diversity of the people and places of the world, to share my experiences in the world with others and to leave a legacy through my artwork. I've found almost no greater satisfaction than when someone is touched or moved by my work. I invite the viewer to join me in my journey to explore the world, whether that is an exotic remote location or around the corner from our home.”