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Updated: Jun 3, 2023

The Art of Oil Painting

Ray Swirsky’s first solo art exhibition at Art Gallery Kimberley entitled “All in Oils” marks an important moment for Ray who grew up in Kimberley. He is excited to come back to his home town to share his art with our wonderful community and its visitors.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Ray describes himself as a contemporary, western oil painter. Having grown up in Kimberley, he never lost his connection with nature which is apparent in the many stunning landscapes and large animal paintings he creates.

As an active plein-air painter, Ray is always looking to find and copy the colours that exist in nature. Ray explains, “In my studio, I work the canvas pushing strong colours with high contrast coupled with a masterful use of light which makes these dynamic works come alive”.

Ray is a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists (AFCA), the Alberta Society of Artists (ASA), Artists for Conservation, Oil Painters of America, and a founding member of the newly formed First Nations Arts Alliance. He has been a regular exhibitor at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Artist’s Studio since 2019, at Spruce Meadows Masters since 2021, at Calgary Art Market since 2022, and he recently joined The Great Western Art Show in Montana. Ray’s work is included in numerous private collections and corporate collections throughout Canada, USA, UK and South Africa.

An often asked question is “What is your favourite painting created so far?". Ray’s answer to this question never changes, "My favourite is always the last one I created". Ray explains, “I get a huge thrill out of the creation process, and as the painting comes together I get excited about the result. The best part is showing it for the first time! Once I'm onto the next painting, my excitement surrounding the last piece just moves over to the new canvas. Strange, but true. I think that is what keeps me motivated. As my work sells it pushes me to get back in the studio and that is the place I love best”.

“For this exhibition”, says Ray, “I have carefully chosen works - all in oils - that have a consistent dynamic range of colours and light that show the diverse variety of works I create. I love contrast and light and whenever I can I will use creative and colourful light in a painting in a way that creates a mood or feeling.”

When asked what the most challenging part of creating this solo exhibition was, Ray answers, “Putting together a collection that best represents my work while being cohesive with one another was a big challenge”. He continues, “My art can be quite different from one piece to the next. By focusing on the colours used and the contrast and intensity in each artwork helped define what pieces I should include and exclude”.

Since this exhibition is taking place in Kimberley, Ray decided to include a few scenes from the Kimberley area; an opportunity he particularly enjoyed.

Ray’s solo art exhibition will be on display at Art Gallery Kimberley in Kimberley’s Platzl from Wednesday, May 31st through Saturday, June 24th. Opening hours starting in June are: Sunday through Wednesday 12 pm - 4 pm, Thursday through Saturday 11 am - 6 pm. The opening reception will be held on Friday, June 2nd from 7-9 pm.

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