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Pull Outs from statements and Bio 

On Teaching

"When the act of painting is viewed as a process of redefining goals and manageable tasks, the artist is free from the fear of failure and can find the creative source."


Ray M. Hershberger was born in Sacramento, California, but has lived in Hampton Roads for more than thirty years. He attended Clemson University and graduated with a B.F.A. from Old Dominion University. An award-winning artist, Ray participated for many years in the local outdoor art shows. He has been an art instructor for more than twenty years and enjoys classes at various levels of ages and skills. He also enjoys working with and teaching a wide variety of media: oil paint, acrylic paint, watercolor paint, drawing, papier mache’, and clay.

On watercolors:

"As the colors in my palette combine, their notes and chords inspire my brush to dance across the paper, sometimes like a ballerina and other times like a tango dancer. It is this dance, this play, that compels me to paint. The paint spreads across the page in ever changing and hypnotic ways, in large sheets of color and smaller staccato marks. In one passage it is transparent, revealing its color as it passes over the clean, white paper and then changing to a more complex color as it passes over an under-painted shape. In the next passage, it is opaque, covering and masking out everything beneath. And then there are those transitions that are in-between and deposit sparkling and brilliant sediments."

"It is this spontaneous performance of the watercolor medium that I direct while shaping images and spaces on the sheet of paper. The variety of possibilities makes every painting unique. In fact, sometimes I may paint the same motif over and over. I may vary the layers of paint or the color combinations, changing the mood, atmosphere, or time. It is this type of exploration that makes watercolor a unique and rewarding painting experience." – RMH

On Landscapes:

Ray has a studio at Norfolk’s d’Art Center, in the historic Selden Arcade, Downtown. As an artist, he prefers to work in series based on similar themes or subjects. Currently, he is painting landscapes, primarily low-country, coastal scenes of Virginia and the Carolinas. He has revisited this theme several times in his career; however, each series has a different focus.

"Sometimes, when the road is under-wheel and the sky passes over, there is a magical moment of observation and reflection. The highway's dashed white line extends into eternity; Einstein's "Theory of Relativity" is obvious; mans' eternal struggle with nature is a dance; and life is fresh. And sometimes, when painting changes from doing into being, I travel another road full of insightful glimpses. Like most revelations, these are not unique but they dawn with the power and newness of the morning sun."


"This series of paintings was originally conceived in early 1991 and has been a reoccurring theme of exploration ever since. After the success of the Chuckatuck Creek Series, I was searching for a subject with similar graphic symbols. I realized the road, like the creek, could function as a path in reality and in painting. For the sake of growth and interest, I wanted a new element and decided on the house, a symbol for mankind, and a contrast to the fluid nature of the road. Along with the theme "Highway Homes," I decided the order of exploration would be sepia drawings, watercolors, oil sketches, and larger paintings. (To be honest, frequently the passion of creativity overpowered this logically predetermined order.) I also decided that I would continue to paint this theme until it yielded its truths." –RMH

On Figurative Work:

For almost 20 years, Ray has had the privilege to work with a group of creative artists that share a model once a week. This experience has helped shaped many of his creative ideas and he encourages other artists to form groups that nurture their creative energies. As a result of these sessions, Ray has been working independently, for almost ten years, on a series of paintings based on one model. This series has become a vehicle to document the various ideas and developments that have occurred while working on other smaller and more limited sequences of paintings.

"Part of the joy of working in a life-model session, is being part of an art family, a support group. I’ve spent almost twenty years with the same group of artists. It is a pleasure, most of the time, to work side by side with a group of diverse, interesting, and accomplished artists. The "most of the time" is a bit of humor, but that is part of a good group. The humor, sharing, goal setting, and the comfort of being with people of a shared history and interest expand the sessions to being truly about "life" drawing/painting. Our sessions are not similar to academic exercises, but energetic gatherings full of discussions and personal anecdotes."


On Animals:

Animals, especially domestic animals, are subjects that Ray has  painted often.  Ray has always had a variety of pets and used them in his paintings.

"Painting is the central point of my life. It is both my work and my recreation. I find it relaxing and frustrating. I am concerned with the why and the how of painting and the folding of them into the what I am painting."

"Choosing what to paint can be the hardest choice of all, or sometimes the simplest. The choice of subject often implies a direction. It can be the beginning of a process, a search, a series. The choice of a subject often leads to months of exploration on similar themes and developments. The resulting series are tied together with similar continuities and new developments."

"But in these small animal paintings, I am free from exploring heavy themes and formal discussions. I allow myself the joy of experiencing my craft."

 – RMH


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rmhershberger.com    Last Modified: 09/11/2008 13:59:21