Ray was born on a 70 acre farm in Connecticut in 1948, growing up surrounded by forests and animals, both domestic and wild. His love of nature was full-blown at a early age and his love of art grew from a drive to connect with and express the beauty that surrounded him.
Professionally, Nature and Art seemed to be an "either/or" proposition. Initially majoring in Forestry, but, after a stint with the Marine Corps in Vietnam, he studied Wildlife Management and then, ultimately, pursued a degree in Fine Arts. Today these disciplines have been merged.
Ray's art has focused on depicting his encounters with the Whitetail Deer, understanding that, as John Muir suggested, "when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world".
His objective is to achieve a glimpse into the world of an "Untamed Interstitial Other", one who some cultures refer to as "The Gatekeeper of the Spirit World".
Ray says about his work, "I've come to find art a powerful spiritual practice and nature my highest teacher, the world outside the self-referencing human paradigm. With the whitetail deer, in the words of Richard Nelson, "...I reached toward intimacy with a wild creature who engages my soul more deeply than any other." My portraits of individual deer have become, for me, both a vehicle to strive towards that intimacy and, on another level, as self-portraiture, objectifying and exploring aspects of my own psyche. As this synergistic relationship evolves, I'm discovering that the whitetail can truly be "The Gatekeeper of the Spirit World"."
Ray works only from his own field studies and photographs, thereby creating portraits of individual deer with their own unique story.
Complementing his work as an artist Ray is a long time student of shamanic studies and a Usui Reiki Master. "The latter was an outcome of my attempt to give something back to the deer, who have for so long gifted me."
His paintings can be viewed by visiting www.ray-hardy.com and he can be reached in Bolton at (860) 643-8168 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also happy to accept commissions for drawings or paintings of pets or other wild or domestic animals.
Please click on the images below for a larger view
ELIZABETH'S FAWN REIKI MASTER
JOHN THE BAPTIST DEER'S SISTER
TELL YOUR CHILDREN RAVEN'S ECHO
DEER IN WOLF'S CLOTHING BUTTON II