Day Nine- Ray Parker- Simple Paintings

It’s day nine and it sure was a challenge for me today.  Lots of things going on in my personal life and also spent the day on the set of a movie, Superpowerless.  Very exciting, but definitely didn’t have a ton of time to spend on painting.  BUT I did it!  And the artist I’m presenting today is…

Ray Parker!

Ray Parker at his art exhibit
Ray Parker at his art exhibit

I tried my hardest not to do two abstract expressionists in a row and also not two artists that focused on color theory, but I decided to do Ray Parker today anyway.  I also apologize again for inserting his wikipedia bio…

Ray Parker Jr. "Ain't afraid of no ghosts."
Ray Parker Jr. “Ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”

but…oh well.  Let’s read about this wonderful man and not confuse him with Ray Parker Jr. who wrote the theme to Ghostbusters…because Ray Parker could’ve in fact been afraid of ghosts.

335_634_520_90Raymond Parker was born in 1922 and he died in 1990. He was known as an Abstract expressionist painter who also is associated with Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction. Ray Parker was an influential art teacher and an importantColor Field painter and an instrumental figure in the movement coined by Clement Greenberg called Post-Painterly Abstraction.

Kate for your birthday 1964
Untitled 1962

Originally from South Dakota, Ray Parker entered the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1940; he earned his MFA in 1948. From 1948 to 1951 he taught painting at theUniversity of Minnesota in Minneapolis. During the 1940s his paintings were heavily influenced by cubism. In the early 1950s, however, Parker became associated with the leading abstract expressionists of the day, including Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. Parker soon began to simplify and refine his works realizing that through abstraction, and color his paintings could convey and express emotion.

Like you “Like” it Denise- 1960

Like Piet Mondrian, Stuart Davis and Jackson Pollock, Parker was a fan of jazz music; and his interest in Jazz, combined with his interest in abstract expressionism, led to his improvised painting style. Parker was also a great admirer of the painter Henri Matisse and he looked to this artist’s work for inspiration in terms of color and form, especially in his paintings of the 1970s and 1980s. By the late 1950s, he taught at Hunter College in New York City and he developed a singular style of painting that focused on intense color and simple geometric shapes. He was represented by the Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, one of the leading contemporary galleries in New York City during the late 1950s through the mid-1960s. At that time the Kootz Gallery represented important living artists such as Pablo Picasso, Pierre Soulages,Hans Hofmann, Zao Wou Ki as well as Ray Parker.

Untitled 1959

He is best known by his work of the late 1950s early 1960s called his Simple Paintings. These paintings are characterized by discreet cloudlike forms of clear, and intense color set against a white or an off-white background. Parker’s paintings utilizing this method of stacked, clearly colored lozenges and floating forms are straightforward and basically geometric in shape. Ray Parker’s works relate to and predict the minimalist and Color Field paintings of the 1960s, made popular by American artists such as Morris Louis, Friedel Dzubas, Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland, Helen Frankenthaler, and Ellsworth Kelly.


Untitled 1968
Untitled 1968

I loved all of Parker’s artwork above, but decided to use his color field paintings from a little later in his career as my primary source of inspiration for my piece.  Here are some examples of those.

I love the shapes and colors that he used in these paintings.  I was excited about what shapes and colors were to emerge

Untitled 1967
Untitled 1967

from the canvas of my art.

I also closed my eyes and stuck my hand into my oubliette of paint and pulled out tubes at random.  Partially because it was fun

Guess these are my first three main colors!
Guess these are my first three main colors!

and partially because I didn’t want to sit there and overanalyze what colors to use.

This painting was very relaxing to paint and I thought the random color choice turned out great!  Despite my crazy day, painting this tribute to Mr. Raymond Parker allowed me to disengage and

I don't have time to wait for paint to dry!
I don’t have time to wait for paint to dry!

slowly return to sanity.  Thank you.  Here is my piece.

See you tomorrow!

photo 4
I Like that I Like this- Tribute to Ray Parker- Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on canvas
I Like that I Like this- Tribute to Ray Parker- Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on canvas
I Like that I Like this- Tribute to Ray Parker- Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on canvas


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