Artist Statement

Painting with an historical perspective

Living on the northernmost tip of Cape Ann, overlooking Rockport’s Pigeon Cove, I have explored the local harbors, coves and headlands under all conditions — as well as the coast and islands of Maine. I’m mindful that these coastal views are the same that the early explorers saw, virtually unchanged for hundreds of years.

The natural beauty and drama of the land and seascapes, along with the extensive research I do, motivates me to create paintings with a historical perspective. My paintings connect with the past and serve as a reminder that, as much as things  change, much remains the same.

— Ray Crane

Current work

A lifetime resident of Boston’s North Shore, Ray lives on Cape Ann, Mass., and finds inspiration in the scenes and history of the New England coast. He focuses on the schooners and other vessels that figured prominently in New England maritime history. Life on this historic coast provides endless opportunities to observe vintage sailing vessels firsthand and visit the harbors and coves that have inspired American artists for more than 200 years. Exploring the locations witnessed by Heade, Lane, Salmon and Homer provides a live connection with the past and the inspiration to create new work that shows their world as it is today.

Over time, Ray has explored the coast from Boston to Downeast Maine, under every conceivable condition and from land and, most often, from water. He has traveled the rugged coast of Maine north to Acadia, including many of the accessible islands along the way — and most recently has expanded his horizons southward to New York Harbor and the Hudson River Valley, with its unique visual beauty and rich maritime history.

Ray’s maritime art is a natural extension of his earlier aviation art focusing on the golden age of air travel in America and the “ships of the air” that have changed transportation forever.

Extensive research

When not painting or seeking new locations, Ray searches the archives of museums and libraries for information that will result in new works with a unique historical perspective.

Maritime painting is as much a discipline as it is art for Ray, and he enjoys the research and study as much as painting the picture. Over the years, he has studied weather, astronomy, history, ship design and construction, and other specialties in order to produce paintings that are not only visually compelling, but also competent — reflecting knowledge of the subject and not just the paint. 

Using sunrises and sunsets, moonlight, approaching storms and other effects to evoke a mood, he hopes to instill a greater appreciation for the past and show the enduring influence of the past in our life today.  

Exhibitions and Awards

Ray’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States, and is in the collection of the National Air & Space Museum, Cape Ann Museum and many private collections nationwide. His work has also appeared in books, magazines and calendars, and has won numerous awards.

a selected list

•  The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport (Mystic, CT),  International Marine Art Exhibition, Fall 2014 & 2015; painting selected in 2015 for use in promotional material; New Horizons in Modern Maritime Art exhibit, Spring 2016

•  U.S.S. Constitution Museum (Boston), December 2015, February 2014 & 2015, invitational exhibit of artwork by ASMA members accompanying annual Ship Model Show

•  Art of the Sea Gallery (So. Thomaston ME), Exhibition of Marine Masters 2006-2015; solo exhibition, June 2008

•  Art Essex Gallery (Essex, CT), Invitational Exhibit, January 2014

•  Crane Estate (Ipswich) juried Annual Art Show, November 2007-2015

•  North Shore Arts Association (Gloucester), juried exhibitions, 1997-2015; solo exhibition, June 2011;  People’s Choice Award,       Fall 2011 & 2008; Charles Gruppé Award for Excellence in Marine Art, 2004

•  Rockport Art Association, juried exhibitions 2006-2015; solo exhibitions, October 2013 and 2009; Excellence in Any Medium   Award, February 2012

•  Marblehead Art Association, New England Regional Exhibit 2014; Juried exhibitions 1995-2005; Solo show 1997; Marine Art Award 2005; Judges’ Choice Awards 1996 & 1997;  People’s Choice Award 1997

•  Copley Society of Art (Boston), national juried exhibition, Atlantic and Beyond, May 2010

•  Kensington-Stobart Gallery (Salem), solo exhibitions, 2005-08

•  J. Todd Gallery (Wellesley), featured artist, Fall 2006; ongoing exhibits through 2012


•  National Air & Space Museum (Washington D.C.), High Art recent acquisitions exhibit, 2013; Earth Views Exhibit, 1987

•  Coutts Museum of Art (El Dorado, KS), Planes, Trains & Automobiles exhibit, fall 2013

•  Daniel Webster College (Nashua, NH), Aviation Heritage Festival, exhibit featuring ASAA artists, 2003

•  Logan Airport (Boston) Solo show as part of 75th Anniversary Exhibit at Amelia Earhart Terminal, 1998-99

•  SimuFlight/Flying Magazine (Dallas TX) Horizons of Flight annual exhibit & competition, awards 1993 & 1994

•  New England Air Museum (Hartford CT), group show, 1994

•  EAA Aviation Museum (Oshkosh WI), national aviation art contest;  annual awards, 1987-93

•  Owl's Head Transportation Museum (Rockland ME)  Solo show, 1991

•  Massachusetts State Transportation Building (Boston), Solo show, 1988

Other Art Experience
Artist, Boston’s Museum of Science / Charles Hayden Planetarium

Artist in Residence 1973-1999, then freelance through 2003, creating paintings of historical scenes, landscapes and astronomical subjects for Planetarium productions

Art Education

School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Professional Affiliations

American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA)
 American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA)
 North Shore Arts Association (NSAA)
 Rockport Art Association (RAA)

For more information, contact

Ray Crane