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Ray Darnell works in various media to bring his creative visions to life. His introduction to being creative began when he spent time growing up in rural New Mexico. His older brothers were great fun, but most of the time it was up to Ray to create his own entertainment, activities, and toys in the years before our world was so focused on being “plugged in”. Ray is grateful to have grown up this way so his creative instincts could soar.
Ray Darnell Photograph

Ray’s mother helped him expand his artistic abilities. She was a painter and always being creative. His thirst for the artistic side of life found wings and flew. In school, Ray’s favorite teachers were those that valued project based instruction and Ray excelled when he was creatively involved. Ray’s greatest creative push came at the University of Texas at El Paso. How he enjoyed his classes in painting, print-making, drawing, sculpture, weaving, pottery and jewelry! Ray graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, with an emphasis in Jewelry and Painting. After graduating, Ray married his high school sweetheart, Elaine. It was then and still is today a marriage made in heaven. Elaine has truly been Ray’s lifelong helper.

As Ray set forth to make a living with his art, he was a high school art teacher for seven years. During that time, Ray and Elaine also had a small wholesale pottery business in their garage and back yard. Their pottery was sold to “Mom & Pop” businesses throughout the United States. Also during this time, Ray was honored as the recipient of the Most Promising Spirit Award from the El Paso Museum of Art. This was the first of many awards throughout his career.

Then Ray hit a crossroads, deciding whether to risk leaving the income security of teaching to pursue the pottery business full time. Ray’s weaknesses have always been dealing with the boredom of routine and his endless thirst to be creative. So, when he hit that art and income security crossroads, he ended up choosing neither. He applied and was accepted to the University of New Mexico’s School of Architecture. He completed his Master’s Degree and spent the next thirty years creatively designing Zoo and Aquarium exhibits for the Albuquerque BioPark and other similar U.S. facilities.

All along, Ray kept making jewelry for special occasions. He and Elaine began selling his jewelry at some arts & craft shows in the Southwest. As he approached retirement, several friends encouraged him to take figurative painting classes. This opportunity reawakened his love of painting and drawing, and added to their art shows inventory. Ray continues to work tirelessly creating his art, but the couple has given up the arts & craft show circuit.

Ray has always enjoyed those “happy accidents” that happen in the creative process. He feels that they should not necessarily end as accidents, and works to recreate and develop the best ones. Yet they always remain a bit wild and untamed. That is how Ray lives and creates his art——-sometimes wild, sometimes untamed, often with an ending that is different than the original idea. He says “Always be creative in all that you do!” That is why Elaine keeps the books!

Diamonds & Rust