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Don Ray


From the book and museum exhibition

ART OF THE DIVE / PORTRAITS OF THE DEEP

David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director

DON RAY (b. 1958, Akron, OH)  grew up in Springfield, Ohio where his interest in art extends as far back as he can remember.  Don learned about fresh water subjects as a boy fishing and netting local streams and lakes.  Like so many others, Don is a self-taught artist, who studied the work of masters from "The Golden Age of Illustration" such as N.C. Wyeth, Fredrick Remington.  But Don also learned from contemporaries like George Schelling and, in particular, Stanley Meltzoff, who personally shared his knowledge and time with Don as a mentor.  Today, Don lives with his family near Vero Beach, where he strives to achieve a balance between artistic expression and interpretations of life and light above and under water.  His research methods include collecting wild specimens and diving with them in natural habitat including a three-quarter acre research pond on his own property.

            Don joined the Society of Animal Artists in 1990.  The same year, he was not only juried into its Annual Exhibition, but also won its highest honor, the Award of Excellence.  Over the years, Don has competed in and won a variety of state stamp and print competitions.  His paintings won first place in the Florida State Lobster Stamp competition for 3 consecutive years, 1990, '91, and '92.  In 1992, an entry in the Florida snook stamp competition placed first, making him the state’s first double competition winner.  In 1995, Don again won the snook stamp and print competition.  In 1994 and 1999, he was chosen to paint the Coastal Conservation Association stamp and print.  He was also selected to paint the Texas saltwater fishing stamp and print in 1996, 2004, and again in 2009; and the Texas freshwater stamp and print in 2008.

            Don's paintings have been selected by the International Game Fish Association for covers of various editions of its annual publication, World Record Game Fishes.  Don’s art has also graced the covers of other books, magazines and catalogs including Big Game Fishing Journal, Cabela’s, Field & Stream, Game Fish (France), Inshore Offshore Fishing Magazine, Marlin, Marlin Magazine’s 30th anniversary cover (2011), Outdoor Life, Penn Reels, Redbone Journal, Saltwater Sportsman, and Sporting Tales, Florida Sport Fishing (2013)among others.  In addition to the Society of Animal Artists Annual Exhibition, Don's work has been juried into the Florida Wildlife Expo, Game Conservation International, Pacific Rim Wildlife Expo, and Southeastern Wildlife Expo.   In 2011, Don was chosen as the featured artist for Florida’s Coastal Conservation Association 25th Anniversary.  He has been represented by Collectors Covey (Dallas, TX), Russell Jinishian Gallery (Fairfield, CT), Redbone Gallery (Islamorada, FL), and Sportsman Edge (New York).  

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