Saturday, July 15, 2006


Rubidoux a poor, mostly Hispanic small town just outside of downtown Riverside.
It does have some quaint little spots, but the most eye-catching thing for me was the blighted section of town where a bunch of houses wore partially or completely demolished, but the job seems to have stalled out. The kids in the picture told me a big box store was supposed to have moved into the devastated area, (but my comments are totally speculative) when I say it looks like a bigger re-developed plan that that went bankrupt half why though the demo process. My clues are weeds are growing up around the abandoned houses and there are no trucks and equipment parked around like any work is being done. I of course find a devastated kind of beauty to this kind of thing and will do several paintings based on the photos it took. This is the first one on an empty house with this boat in the driveway for no apparent reason. 8x10 oil on linen.


Blogger Mitch said...

That picture with half of the house gone, revealing the road out of that place, is pretty amazing. Even weirder to see people walking around to the left of it.

Can't wait to see what comes of this.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Don Shank said...

I love when artists capture the beauty in subjects that are normally considered mundane or even ugly. Bill this is why I am loving all your work here. And the moods you capture in your paintings is why I'm missing southern california.
I want you to come up and teach a class in the bay area!

3:59 PM  
Blogger Urban Barbarian said...

this is the type of painting I love. It's a house and boat. So what, right? Only - look at those colors!!! The way they're placed against each other!

I think this is one of your best yet! Very appealing!

10:20 AM  
Blogger Miles Thompson said...

dig dig dig dig diiiiiig!

bleak - real

very cool man - this one's application isn't patchy at all - i really like the more organic contours of the form's description in this one - seems like you had this composition dialed and then just had fun pushing paint into the corners of this universe

10:33 AM  
Blogger BoneDaddy said...

I don't care so much for the sky in this one, it looks kind of choppy, but not because of clouds. I love the house, though. It looks completely sturdy, but you kind kind of tell that it looks empty and unmaintained. I wish now that I'd taken pictures of the old abandoned houses in my old neighborhood before they were torn down.

11:19 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Mitchl-- The kids love it, it was the only place to get out of the sun for about 400 yards at least. I think they found a new club hosue. They were a little suprised the female pitt didn't bark at me. I think it was to hot for her to bother.

11:28 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Don,

Thanks, really nice of you to say. It's gratifying when the good artists get what I'm trying to do. As far as a workshop I talked to Scott Morse about getting Pixar to sponsor something, I still think that would be the way to go. I don't know if he made any headway in that regard, but your added voice might help. I'll be in Stockton area in mid august to do some local painting for a show I'm going to do there in September. Wouldn't be so far to come to you guys.
Hilarious photo by the way.

11:38 AM  
Blogger glamaFez said...

I get really excited with anticipation when I am in an "abandoned" area, even if it's indoors, and this painting (and many others of yours) capture that aura of vacancy and that mood.

12:07 PM  
Blogger tonypetersart said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:20 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Dan,

I didn't even have to place the elements, the lead in for the eye was totally natural, waiting to be exploited.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Chris Sterritt said...

Saaaaay... speakng of being 'exploited' :-) why not do a contest for painters to work from your photos. The sales proceeds could go to... say... mailing you up to SF?

2:15 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Miles,

2:33 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Contrasts BG, contrasts.

12:34 AM  
Blogger tonypetersart said...

It looks like owning a pit bull is a prerequisite around there in Rubidoux.

That little boat by the house has a nice Andrew Wyeth or Edward Hopper feeling of aloneness to it. Nice buttery paint too.

12:52 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Glam,

Yeah it's only for certain people. I know people who feel uncomfortable in desolate areas, but I love it. I'm much less comfortable with a bunch of people around.

12:53 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Chris-- Take your own pictures! ;-) Get out there. find that blight.

12:55 AM  
Blogger Jesse said...

When working from the photo references, how true do you stay to the photos? Obviously you are not doing photo realism, but do you move elements around for compositional reasons or combine different parts of photos? Or do you try and get all that mostly nailed down when taking the photos?

And do you continue to look at the photos you are using during the duration of the process or do you do a sketch and color study and go from there?

I am curious because a lot of work I see based on photos feels like it was based on a photo and is missing a lot of energy and life you find from directly observed work. They often feel oddly flat.

Your paintings from photos do not seem to suffer from these common pit-falls and I am curious about your process from going from the photos to the finished work.

The painting feels very fresh and very real. It's got a good tactile presence to it.

8:33 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Tony,

High praise. Hero's two.

I understand loneliness. I don't think there are many moment's in life when I don't feel it creeping around. Except for when base deep of course.

6:40 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

When I'm on my game I use photo's just as a jumping off point to do a painting, not copy a photo. When I'm tired, lazy or just not focused, I might copy to much of the photo and the painting get too detailed. I think that happened a little with the Chinatown painting. I should have referred more to the study.

I think doing a lot of painting outside and tons of illustrations over the years has giving me the advantage of being able to avoid that painted from a photo look. I never project, I just casually eyeball it. Often changing the proportions and simplifying/ changing elements. Matt Smith can painting from a photo and you can't tell the difference from him PA paintings.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Lesley Todd said...

I love the colours you've used in this one and I really like how the boat is lighter than the sky. Genius.

2:41 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Lesley-- Always Dark against light-- even if it dosen't appear so...

10:21 AM  

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