Ray Hassard: Making Everyday Amazing

NOAPS Hassard MorningAfterTheStorm

“The Morning after the Snowstorm”, Acrylic on Canvas, 12×16, Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Winner of the Best Use of Light and Color at the 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit.

Making a snow scene look warm is a daunting task for an artist, but one look at Ray Hassard’s painting, and the warmth emanates from the scene.  He has taken an ordinary scene, and found in it the simple, striking beauty.  He has masterfully taken the complimentary colors and let the snow cover the warmth of the orange earth.  He has taken the light that we all savor, and put it in paint.  It is a painting that causes us to pause and actually feel the sun on the house; that makes us want to be a part of the scene.  As Ray describes his inspiration for this painting: “Snow fell all day on my father’s 91st birthday celebration on Long Island.  Looking out early the next morning, I remembered vividly the childhood excitement of a snow day so clear, so bright, such intense light!  I took photos from my stepsister’s kitchen, planning to paint a personal connection across time between my father and my childhood self…”

Ground Fog at Dawn, Central Florida Acrylic on canvas 12

“Ground Fog at Dawn, Florida” Acrylic on Canvas, 12×36, Collection of the Artist

Ray Hassard has loved art and drawing since he was a child.  His family supported his passion, and as a boy he would visit the fascinating animation studio of his great-uncle, Bill Sturm.  Hassard attended two years of art school at the Pratt Institute in New York, but found that the museums offered a wealth of the type of education he was seeking.  He has studied with various artists during his career, including David Mueller in Cincinnati, where he learned the classical atelier methods.

Dirt2  “Dirt #2”, Oil on Canvas, 24×48, Collection of the Artist

Today most of Ray’s paintings are of landscapes, though he has done some figurative and still life work.  It is the everyday scenes that inspire him most, scenes that are overlooked or taken as ordinary.  He is able to take these scenes and create paintings that help the viewer see the beauty, the significance of that which is always around us.

Ray’s paintings are done in a variety of media; pastel, oil, acrylic and gouache.  He works both in the studio and en plein air, and participates in plein air competitions throughout the United States, including Plein Air Easton, Cape Ann Plein Air and En Plein Air Texas in San Angelo.  When painting outside, he always starts with a thumbnail sketch to work out the composition and discover possible problem areas.  In the studio he works from photos viewed on the computer, which he views from a distance of 10 feet to minimize the details.

The Gap  “Closing the Gap”, 30×40, Oil on Canvas, Collection of the Artist

Ray is currently working on paintings for a show to open in February at the Richmond Art Museum in Richmond, Indiana.  The title of the show is “Concrete Dreams” and features paintings based on the changes occurring in the inner city.  The show will feature both Hassard and artist Marlene Steele.  Ray’s paintings will focus on “a construction project involving the demolition and replacement of an old automobile viaduct at the edge of the city.  The primary colors and stark shapes of the machines and the constantly changing scene was beyond inspiration for me and became compulsion.”

Guiding the Beam Oil/Canvas 18  “Guiding the Beam”, 18×24, Oil on Canvas, Collection of the Artist

Hassard cites his success on the plein air circuit as a bright spot in his career; he was also asked to be the awards judge for the first Cape Ann Plein Air competition in 2016.

As most artists will tell you, the best words of wisdom that Ray has to offer is to paint.  “Even if it is only 15 minutes a day and feels useless, keep going.”

To see more of Ray Hassard’s work visit http://www.rayhassard.com.   Galleries which represent his work inlcude the Oxford Gallery, Rochester, NY; Patricia Hutton Galleries, Doylestown, PA, and Cincinnati Art Galleries, Cincinnati, OH.

To view more paintings from the 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit, visit http://www.noaps.org/exhibitions.  Also follow us on Facebook and Instagram (Natoilandacrylicsociety).

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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