Monday, July 31, 2006


Grinder 16x24 oil on wood.

I loved this one when I first painted it a week ago, but now I'm not so sure. I was excited by the simple abstract quality I achieved, yet am left with a feeling that there is not enough to it. This may have been the case were a bit of background for more context would have helped or a foreground element? The other issue is if I'm going to try and go more abstract should I pick subjects that are more recognizable? Who knows what an ancient giant wood chipper looks like, especially this roughly painted? Does it make it more spooky not to know? Oh well, it's all a process.


Blogger Mitch said...

At first glance, my mind said I was looking at part of a junkyard, then closer examination led me to think it was an overturned trailer home's contents on top of an old corvette, and then the home itself dropped upon the rest of it.

Then I read the title, 'Grinder.' And I can't honestly say I've ever seen a wood grinder before. But the impression of this one is interesting enough to keep that fact from holding it back.

It's difficult to describe how it makes me feel. Before the whole of the scene even comes into play, the time of day is apparent and familiar. It calls back to the last look at where you are before you head home at dusk -- you could have been there for hours, but it looks like you've only arrived. It's just weird.

It's a familiar view of unfamiliarity.

I'll stop myself before I ramble too much. I hope these 'this piece makes me feel' types of comments aren't annoying.

But anyways, I am interested in seeing more with the same approach. Just to get more of a sense of this direction.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Shawn Dickinson said...

This is amazing!

8:39 PM  
Blogger aw said...

I love the conrast between the sunset and the darkness of it. This might be emphasized even more with some slivers of highlight to emphasize the graphical elements of it. Or maybe a wee bit of haloing or backlighting? An interesting piece of equipment to be sure!

9:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Your work is great. I saw your comment on my blog after I came home from a great evening at my friend's(another artist). My husband & I own a restaurant and b&b and know how to make a great meal..paring wine is another talent!

This summer (in the Midwest and beyond) has been hot and noisy. Glad to see you are doing so well. Toodles,Jayne

9:16 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Mitch L: Can expressing your feelings be annoying? Far from it, (unless you think its crap, then it’s annoying. ;-)
I feel honored anytime someone takes the time to look at my work long enough to have any feelings about it. Then taking the writing time to try and articulate their thoughts into some kind of coherent meaning that goes deeper than the obvious is pure gravy. Thank you.

9:21 PM  
Blogger tonypetersart said...

It's cool, in a wierd way. Looks like a space ship, or that NASA rover that they have exploring Mars.

The color really works well. You're right though, something that could put the grinder into context might be best. A couple figures dragging logs is the first thing to come to mind.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Miles Thompson said...

this is the sexiest most intimate thing you have ever painted


close-up - MACRO if you will

this kicks ass

10:54 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Shawn!

11:24 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Aw,

I thought about those kind of effects, but I didn't want to make it to pretty or start rendering to much...
I think the more I do light effects on this kind of thing it does become a Star Wars kind illustration. It's a struggle to make things "art" ;-)

11:30 PM  
Blogger BoneDaddy said...

I definitely agree with AW about the contrasts. I also had no idea what a giant old wood chipper looked like, though I've seen more modern ones before.
I like the swirl you put in the ground. The sky seems to flow into it as well, but you made the ground look like the memory of movement upon it is visible to the viewer. That sounds familiar, I think I said something to that effect of one of your other ones. Oh well, that just means it's still cool.
It seems like you've really got a handle on portraying movement without actually portraying movement. Weird.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Dominic Bugatto said...

Very sombre image, the ghosts of a bygone era. Nice.

Evokes a John Steinbeck kind of feel.

6:42 AM  
Blogger glamaFez said...

Bill, your first impression was the correct one. The best part is that I can't tell exactly what's what, except that it's a big machine, and it somehow seems to wants to investigate an unseen something that's over to the right of the picture. But it's not merely a picture of a big machine. It's a menacing masterpiece.

7:38 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Jayne: Heat has been bad here too. Last few days are in the eighties and that's heaven to what it was. I'm actually riding my bike again. Sound like with a B and b you don't have to go far for you painting subjects.

2:38 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Miles did you want me to post a close up of the painting or are you speaking in metaphors?

2:41 PM  
Blogger Ashes77 said...

you know a few my people are having secret backgorund conversations about your work. That shouldn't scare you. I think my excited 2-bits about your work is that i would love to see you choose subject matter that is deeply, even religiously, personal just to you. That only you understand and can't explain quite why it fascinates you... I think you do that already, but I think you could make it more explicit and more experimental treating some stuff as more overtly symbolic, though symbolic of what I don't know, maybe you don't know either, but you've definitely got the "skill-set" (to borrow an icky expression,) that allows you to venture into dichotomies where your vocabulary is not so sure footed. ie; where you can talk explicitly about questions whose answers are not explicit. Very exciting !!! I think this painting and your uncertainty about it is part of that already, so nice to see.

2:54 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey BG— I find a thin paint on a textured surface applied with force and directional thought at the same time can achieve what your responding to. It is a way of depicting movement, because... it’s based on movement. ;-)
I’m finding the more I can apply things with a natural organic energy, the more I like it. When done right, It’s like lightening in a bottle, if I can use a pretentious allegory. It also gives a certain kind of “real” realism where the texture becomes the ground in a realistic visual way with virtually no rendering or brushstrokes. Very satisfying when done right. Great for ground in this case because it can capture the feeling that many vehicles have traveled this ground over time and the direction they went in.

3:38 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Dom, Nice, that's all I could hope for.

10:00 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Glam: a M.M.? Wow! That's what I was trying to be in my bodybuilding days. I kid, but I like the discription. Hope I will soon be worthy.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Kenney Mencher said...

Damn! The color is great and I knew what it was as soon as I saw it. I wonder what the surfaces of your paintings are like. Are you showing anywhere in the SF Bay Area?

12:22 AM  
Blogger william wray said...


Yes! September 9th at the valult gallery. 20 paintings in an urban group show, a bit of a haul, but not impossible... ;-)
Send me your mailing address and your will get a postcard. Keep you eye on the blog for an officall anouncement soon.

1:00 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Let them come out in public then, I love debate. I’m not scared, just flattered, for good or Ill, talked about is good, ignored bad.
I’m not religious; I didn’t have anything drummed into me as a child, I was ignored. My biggest influence is subtle... feelings of abandonment and confusion as to why I wasn't loved as a child by my father. Symbolism for that are already in my work, note the abandoned empty places I’m attracted to. I’ve forgiven him, so I don’t feel a need to do paintings of men being killed or some kind of great anger, but I’m working toward deeper meaning and more figures in the work. I’m trying to find my “why” with some kind of personal repertory without forcing it. I hope you will be patient with me. Something will break out soon.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure it is right around the corner for you William. Paint with your heart, and it will find you.
This machine looks almost futuristic to me, as if it was abandoned on another planet, left behind. Our ever wasteful human condition.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Miles Thompson said...


all i meant was that this painting offers a close personal glimpse of something you HAVE to look at to see more of because you know what it is the second the dark registers - most landscapes are value/tone/polarity shifts in consideration to a given number of hills plains flowers waves - this i can identify before seeing a single detail - it's a pure clod of 1/2. it makes the "it/thing" more interesting to look at than any other part of the whole. the great strength of the silo begs for a continuance to look and hope for a discovery - something i like MORE than the first impression which rules - this one is aaall good thanks - any text on this vehicle would be an A+++

why where you looking at a land mover when you got so stoked to paint? do more dude! transpo!

this kicks ass WW
serious ass

11:42 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sorry not to talk about this painting especially William, but I really admire you for all those beautiful paintings you are doing, all that matters to me it's that I come here and see some passion and dedication in all your work, it's very inspiring.

2:25 AM  
Blogger Rob Mackintosh said...

I don't think it's important to know much more about it than is showing. It's a machine that's wood chipping days are over, and the barren surroundings and the setting sun are suggestive of its abandonment. I think this painting is full of mood and tells a proper story.

10:53 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Thanks Robin,

I do have a pretty dark heart so this fits.

1:15 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Miles : Can you write an article for Art Forum about me? Your combination of insight and scatological be- bop talk should confuse them to the point where they will be convinced I'm a genius and you art the new art critic of the age. But seriously, I think I get the jist of your feeling that I'm being more personally revealing with this work and I thank you. I know I'm getting some where because some people don't like it. ;-)

1:22 PM  
Blogger Miles Thompson said...

talking about art is like dancing about architecture - i LOVE it when someone is emotional about something that has NOTHING to do with them personally - kick the tires and light the fires!

you rock

1:46 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

I'll take any form of posting thaks Stef--

2:12 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Rob , my confident side thanks you. Insecurity is on the run ;-)

2:15 PM  
Blogger Jesse said...


7:15 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

i don't know why it speaks to me, but this is one of my favorites. it's quiet, but not for lack of things to look at. You're a real beast with the brush, Bill.

5:30 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey T- People say I'm a beast in general, so your not the first! I kid and I think you.

4:10 PM  

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