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Ray Strong Landscape Oil Painting, dated 1956

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    Posted 1 year ago

    (5 items)

    Hi Everyone!
    This is my first ever Show & Tell posting!
    I found this screwed over a broken window in a barn, and got it for a dollar at an estate sale in Graton, Ca.
    It and the canvas board itself were actually screwed into, and sadly it got warped from becoming wet, as well as a bit of other damage.
    I am glad I spotted it though, and think it is delightful.
    Anyone have any idea where in California this painting was done?
    The first two photos are of the painting since it was cleaned and restored.

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    1. Phonoboy Phonoboy, 1 year ago
      Good find.
    2. anne_dios, 1 year ago
      Thank you!

      I just realized that the evening sun does hit it where it is hung now. Does that really matter; should I move it?

      Also, I forgot to mention, the last photo posted is of the painting sitting on top of my motorcycle after I bought it. I scratched my head a few minutes before figuring out how to get it home. I wear a backpack. I looped the straps around it and wore it against my back a few miles, haha.
    3. billretirecoll billretirecoll, 1 year ago
      Welcome to CW Anne, what a nice save this painting is! :^D I could be anywhere in California, or a lot of other places! It looks good though and would be nice to restore it! Thanks for showing! Take Care and Wear a Mask whenever you go out, help the spread of COVID-19! :^)
    4. Phonoboy Phonoboy, 1 year ago
      You should limit exposure to direct sunlight, as it will fade the painting.
    5. anne_dios, 1 year ago
      Thanks billretirecoll! Thanks Phonoboy!

      It was likely of somewhere in California, as Ray Strong loved painting in Santa Barbara, but you are right. It may be anywhere, but I would love to know where exactly.

      I will move it to a different wall do it does not get any direct sun rays.

      Hmm, did you mean help prevent the spread of COVID-19? It would be news to me if wearing a mask helps spread it! I tease! Maybe my bosses french sense of humor is rubbing off on me.
    6. Mark_Humpal, 8 months ago
      I wrote the definitive book on Ray Strong, Ray Stanford Strong: West Coast Landscape Artist, published by the University of Oklahoma Press. For starters, the subject is most likely somewhere in Marin County, where he lived at the time, though he did paint elsewhere in California around this time. It's definitely not a Santa Barbara scene; he didn't move there until 10 years later. I have the largest archive of information on Ray, including all extant sales records, so I may be able to find your painting and get it's title. Also, don't worry about the sun fading it; that advice is for works on paper such as watercolors.
    7. Mark_Humpal, 8 months ago
      OK, one more thing. The location looks a lot like a painting on page 299 of my book, titled Paper Mill Creek (now Lagunitas Creek). It's a stream in West Marin County. I'll poke around in the sales records to see if I can find it. And yes, it's a great find.
    8. anne_dios, 8 months ago
      Hi Mark Humpal!

      Thank you so much for reaching out to me! Your book is a work of art in itself, and has been an interesting read. I confess I have read random passages and not read it cover to cover, but it is a keeper!

      Yes, this painting looks similar to the one on page 299. I wonder if I could find and visit the site of that painting from Paper Mill Creek, and will look into it. If you discover anything about this painting, I would be delighted and very grateful!

      I realized after it was cleaned that it is actually dated 1956, not 1950. It measures 17 3/4 " tall and 24" wide, and was done on a "Triple SSS" brand canvas on board. I don't know if any of that is helpful or not, but now you know!

      His painting of Lost Lake on page 305 struck me as a painting of one I might have seen while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, but I would have to sift through hundreds of my photos to solve that mystery. He definitely painted some beautiful places and I am grateful for that.

      I will post new photos since it has been professionally restored.
      Thanks again Mark!
    9. anne_dios, 8 months ago

      The first two photos were taken after this painting was professionally cleaned and restored. It almost looked too bright and new to me, at first, but it is an even more beautiful painting now.

      I hope you enjoy, let me know what you think!
    10. Mark_Humpal, 8 months ago
      Hi Anne, I so happy to see this painting, now restored to its original luster! Also, yes, 1956. The SSS canvasboard is something Ray used in the mid 50s, so very typical. I'm also grateful to hear you've got the book! Don't worry about reading the whole is about 400 pages after all. When I get a chance, I'll delve into the sales records and see if I can find your painting. The records I have, compiled by Ray's wife, were mostly written on note cards and carry the name, exhibition record and price when sold. The Lost Lake painting you mentioned is a favorite of mine and is owned by one of Ray's many nieces.
    11. Mark_Humpal, 7 months ago
      Anne, I couldn't find any reference to your painting in the Strong sales records or exhibition lists. In any case I still think the subject is Lagunitas Creek (formerly Paper Mill Creek) with Black Mountain seen in the background.
    12. anne_dios, 7 months ago
      Hi Mark!

      Thank you so much for helping me with this painting! Too bad no record came up but we can say we tried to crack that nut!
      I will have to go check out Lagunitas Creek and see if I can find the spot he painted from, sometime. If nothing else it is an excuse for a little roadtrip!

      I didn't find any photos of the what looked like the Lost Lake among my PCT photos, but they were both spectacular. What a lucky niece.

      Thanks again for your help!
    13. Mark_Humpal, 7 months ago
      Hi Anne, I'm not too surprised that I couldn't find a reference to your painting in the records. Ray was prolific and it makes sense to me that not all of his works were recorded. The other thing I know is that Ray traded a lot of paintings, off the books so to speak. He also gave paintings to ranchers in West Marin County who allowed him to paint on their property. Your idea to explore the creek to find the location is a very good one. In my experience, Ray was true to the landscape he saw and painted, so your painting is definitely not an artistic fantasy. I'm glad I found this thread on your painting and congratulate you on a great find!

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