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 Frederick Shannon Ray  (1927 - 2014)

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Lived/Active: California/New Jersey      Known for: landscape, marine, yacht, portrait, Indian painting, teaching

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
William Wendt sketching, 13 x 16 1/2
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted May 2005, is from John Helgeson, friend of the artist.

Fred Ray was born at Short Hills, New Jersey in 1927.  His family moved to Santa Monica, California where he attended High School but joined the United States Coast Guard in 1944 when he was 17. During World War two, Ray saw combat in Okinawa and the South Seas.  After his discharge in 1946, he joined the Merchant Marines and sailed to all points of the world until he retired in 1976 after thirty years of service.

Fred Ray loved his life at sea, and his paintings reflect this with a passion that emanates from all of his many nautical works. Paintings such as"Crossing The Bar", and many others are testimony to his life at sea.

His marine paintings were so admired that Richfield commissioned him to paint pictures of two of their tankers and John C. Tyler, CEO of Farmers Insurance, commissioned him to paint all of his yachts.

Ray has painted most of his life and is entirely self taught, but he only started painting seriously in 1980. His admiration for the landscapes of the early Western and California painters inspires much of his landscape works.

He paints from memory and imagination and this he believes is as it should be with artists. Fred Ray says of his paintings, "My paintings may be good or bad but they are always honest."


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is the obituary of Fred Ray published June 26, 2014 by the Del Norte Triplicate newspaper of Crescent City, California.

Fred Ray, 87, died on summer solstice, June 21, 2014. He had been a resident of Crescent City for the last 17 years.

He was born and raised in Santa Monica. In 1944, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and participated in the Battle of Okinawa. After the war, he became an able-bodied seaman in the Merchant Marine. For 23 years he sailed the world to every continent. “The most fun I’ve ever had,” he always said. He had many tales.

In 1969, he returned to Southern California to pursue his talent in drawing. Though self-taught, he became a well-established landscape painter in the Los Angeles area. When he moved to Crescent City, he continued his art and his work has been shown in numerous galleries. His paintings have also spread across the country by means of the internet. He was a teacher and inspiration to his fellow artists and friends until the very end.

He is survived by his two sisters, Joan Kirkwood and Jean Thomm of Los Angeles.

Submitted by Sandra Fernandes


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information, submitted November 2004, is from Norman Davies, Art and Book Collector from Torrance, California who knew the artist.

"A life-long merchant seaman who spent a lot of time at sea, Fred Ray did an occasional painting but did not join any clubs that I know of.  He painted marine subjects as well as Indians in landscapes.  He signed with a monogram on the front (a super imposed FR in a square box) and then he signed Frederick Ray on the back.

His home base was California, and in 2004 he was about 77 years old.  The last time I talked to him he had moved to Crescent City, California."


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