Saturday, December 6, 2008

"Smashing Success in Beaufort!"

This fall I was the guest and featured artist of the Fundraising Party of the Beaufort Historical Association. Saturday night at the home of Doug and Carolyn Brady on Front Street in Beaufort, sponsors of this year's event viewed and purchased several of my paintings. Proceeds benefited the ongoing educational and restoration projects at the Beaufort Historic Site. I was honored to participate in such a classy and grandiose event.

Likewise, I provided the Fall Party chairman, Ann Sloan, with a commissioned painting of Beaufort's St. Paul's Episcopal Church where her daughter was recently married. "Eric is a very talented and passionate artist," says Ann. I can frankly say Ann Sloan is a gracious, generous, and elegant lady, and it was a pleasure working with her. She helped make my BHA experience a delight.

My overall experience fell in line with my personal goals of stately luxury and professional prestige. Sponsors invested in my paintings and the BHA. The events were well attended. My family enjoyed themselves. I had a ball! Being in Beaufort was a smashing success!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"McRay Kids visit North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores"

This is how you mix business and pleasure. When I wasn't dressed up and hobnobbing with the hobnobbers as the Beaufort Historical Association Fall Fundraiser's featured artist, I carried my little darlings, Erica and Ethan, to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

Genesis 1:21 states, "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good."

Sharing this experience with my children was wondrous! I know those of you who have children understand the magic in their little eyes and the warmth in your heart when sharing these precious moments. They are truly priceless.

Enjoy, Eric McRay

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Beaufort, Baby!"

In October I was the guest and featured artist of the Fall Fundraising Party of the Beaufort Historical Association. The first gathering was a Thursday evening, private opening at the Mattie King Davis Art Gallery on the historic site.

The second event was Saturday night at the home of Doug and Carolyn Brady on Front Street in Beaufort. At both gatherings, sponsors of this year's event viewed and purchased several of my paintings. According to Patricia Suggs and Ann Sloan, the event was a success! I was honored to participate in such a classy and grandiose event.

Yet when I wasn't dressed up and hobnobbing with the hobnobbers, I was dressed down and having fun with my little darlings, Erica and Ethan. From our accommodations, graciously provided by the BHA, we could look out onto the Beaufort waterfront. The view was magnificent!

The true magic moment was when we shared the joy of viewing dolphins porpoising through the water outside our balcony window. It's times like these that I feel like a successful gentleman artist in a pair of sunglasses and the proud father of precious children.

I love my job, Eric McRay

"Adventures & Misadventures"

Well, I'm back in the studio with a little time to address my blog again. It's been a while since I've had the time to put my adventures and misadventures into words and pictures.

I've felt like Jules Verne's ambitious character Phileas Fogg from "Around the World in Eighty Days." I haven't been around the world, but it sure felt like it. At times, it felt like I've been to Hell and back.

Since mid October, I've attended the Beaufort Historical Association Fall Fundraiser parties as the featured artist... Then off to exhibit at the Philadelphia International Art Expo, as a guest of the October Gallery. Unfortunately, making stops in Washington, DC to visit a deathly ill sister and cancer surviving Grandmother... Then returning to NC to participate in the Artspace Collector's Gala and my first solo museum exhibition at the North Carolina Central University Art Museum.

This concludes with the horrific call that my dear sister and only sister, Shirley Gladney, passed away on Friday, November 14th, which was also my birthday. Less than five years ago, I lost my only brother, Arthur Jackson, to a carjacker's bullet.

It is often said, "Life is not fair." True, it's not and never will be. Jesus said in Matthew 5:45, "for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust." I ask those that know the words of prayer, remember my family and my mother, Marjorie McRay. She is a just woman.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"BHA Announces 2008 Fall Fundraising Party Artist, Eric McRay"

100 Block Turner Street, P.O. Box 363
Beaufort, North Carolina 28516

Kelsie Kirkland
PR/Event Coordinator
Phone: (252) 728-5225
Fax: (252) 728 – 4966

As a young boy, Eric McRay, dreamed of being one of the greatest artists in the world. McRay, a native of Washington DC, received his Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree from the Maryland Institute in 1987. McRay relocated to North Carolina soon after, and since his arrival has become a major force in the North Carolina art community.

It was the artwork McRay allowed the Junior League of Raleigh to use as a fundraiser that caught the eye of 2008 Fall Party Chairman Ann Sloan. “The women from the Junior League gave such high praise of Eric’s art and his personality, that I spent some time getting to know his work, and was pleasantly surprised,” shares Ann. McRay’s vast amount of work of all different styles and imagery, lends to his likeability. “He has a little something for everyone,” states Beaufort Historical Association PR/Events Coordinator Kelsie Kirkland. “Eric’s work ranges from colorful coastal depictions, to jazz, rhythm and blues, to a coffee collection that makes you want to sit down and take it in. His work has been described as not something you see, but something you feel.”

McRay has been sharing his art throughout North Carolina since 1987, and was juried into Raleigh’s prestigious Artspace in 1998. Since his opening at Artspace, McRay has quickly become one of Raleigh’s most exciting artists. McRay is a strong supporter of many local charities, which has allowed him to share his passion while helping others.

McRay’s work has been featured in a number of publications, ranging from regional newspapers to Southern Living Magazine. He was named Metro Magazine’s 2008 Bravo Award winner as the top local artist in the “Standing Ovation” category in the July 2008 issue. McRay has his work in corporate collections that include Central Carolina Bank, Duke University Medical Center, NC State University, SAS Institute, UNC Chapel Hill, and Western Wake Hospital, as well as many private collectors locally, nationally and internationally.

“Eric is a very talented and passionate artist,” says Ann. “He is currently working on a commissioned piece for me of the church my daughter was recently married in.” McRay’s work will be featured at the Beaufort Historical Association’s Annual Fall Fundraising Party October 18, 2008, at the home of Doug and Carolyn Brady at 805 Front Street in Beaufort. Sponsors of this years event will have the opportunity to view and purchase McRay’s work in a private opening October 16, 2008 at the Mattie King Davis Art Gallery.

For more information on this year’s Fall Fundraising Party, how to become a Fall Fundraising Party sponsor, or to purchase tickets to the event call (252) 728-5225 or visit

The Mattie King Davis Art Gallery is the oldest gallery in Carteret County and exhibits the work of over 100 local and regional artists. Gallery proceeds benefit the ongoing educational and restoration projects at the Beaufort Historic Site. For more information on Eric McRay’s upcoming exhibit, contact the Beaufort Historical Association at (252) 728-5225 or stop by the gallery Monday through Saturday, 10 am–4 pm, or visit

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Fresh Out the Oven"

This past weekend I finished three paintings. This gave me an even greater revelation concerning what I learned about painting from watching my mother, Marjorie McRay, prepare her culinary delights. Anyone who has attended one of my early studio events can testify, my mother is an expert cook.

Often, I'm asked, "How long does it take to make a painting?" My common response is "I work on several paintings simultaneously. It's like cooking." As a child, I'd watch my Mom cook our daily meals with one hand tied behind her back and her eyes closed. She made it look so easy. She's talented, disciplined, skilled, tireless, accomplished, and especially passionate. She loves her family and she loves to cook.

Henri Matisse, the twentieth century master was constantly criticized because of the surface simplicity of his drawings and paintings. Thus, he was often asked, "How long did it take you to make that painting?" Matisse's response, "a lifetime." His life was dedicated to artistic excellence. Matisse labored and labored over his paintings, but to the public, he made it look easy.

Back to Mom. Family holidays are like the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Final Four of cooking for her. Observing her prepare a holiday meal is like watching Michael Jordan leap down court with his tongue displayed. The next thing you know, "Wham!," a slam dunk. He's Michael Jordan. You don't expect any less. My Mom is like Jordan, but shorter.

She's poetry in motion. In the oven, a moist and delicious turkey is cooking. Her secret blend of cheeses are being mixed with macaroni to make, guess what? Simultaneously, homemade rolls are laid out on a baking pan. Collards are cooking, too. Cakes and pies are already on display. We all wait with anticipation.

Like Mom, I multitask. A long line of commissioned portraits are lined up to be completed. I'm preparing for gallery and museum exhibitions. New canvases are drawn upon. New under paintings are slashed out in a Van Gogh like fashion. Details are added to another set of paintings. Finishing touches are added to another. Eventually, like this past weekend, I add my signature to some. Hopefully, collectors wait in anticipation.

Recently, I heard a humorous rumor. "Eric McRay has a machine that makes paintings." I laughed! I wish it was that easy. I'd turn my painting machine on and then go to the beach with my kids and come back later to great paintings. And I bet that rumor weed cooks her Thanksgiving dinner in a microwave!

I'm a disciple of Marjorie McRay. Like Mom, I'm "Old School." We believe in working smart, working hard, multitasking, remaining optimistic regardless of the circumstances, expressing passion, loving our family and loving what we do. We make it look easy. And by the way, I have three new paintings, "fresh out the oven."

Bon Appetite! -Eric McRay

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Questions & Answers"

Over the past ten years since I've been "in the public eye", I've had an abundance of art, literature, and history students of many ages write about me and my art. I'm humbled to say the least. Basically, I've always seen myself as the kid that just loved to draw and liked telling exciting stories. With much prayer, hard work and the help of my loved ones, my passion has become my career.

Recently, I received an email from a friend and collector of my artwork. He and his lovely wife own three of my paintings. He's taking a class and chose to include me in a paper he is writing. These are the questions he asked. I thought I'd share the answers with you.

Where were you born and where were you raised?
I was born and raised in N. W. Washington DC. in an area between Howard University and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

When did you first become interested in art and why?
In the first or second grade I was esteemed by my teacher when I helped her design a Rumpelstiltskin themed bulletin board. That was the day I realized my art had a value beyond by own personal fulfillment.

When and why did you decide to make a living from painting and drawing?
Fish swim. Birds fly. I make art. Striving to be a great artist is my life's purpose. That is what God "called" me to be.

What was the first piece that you sold?
I don't remember. As a child, kids often paid me to draw pictures on their book covers in school. When I was sixteen I was hired by a design firm as a paste-up artist.

Describe the different materials you use and what you like/dislike about them?
I stopped using oil paints, because they took too long to dry. I paint in acrylics, because they are fast, clean, efficient, fast-drying, versatile and archival.

I create in collage, because it is alchemy. I'm able to make something of tremendous value out of inexpensive materials. It's like making microchips out of sand and turning straw into gold.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my passions, my adventures and misadventures. My art is my diary.

What artist(s) influenced your style?
I think every artist I've ever seen. As Robert Motherwell said, "The intelligent artist keeps the history of art in his head." I'm paraphrasing.

What are your future plans?
Now my friend, that is a broad question. So, I can only give you a broad but sincere answer. As an artist I'm striving to become the best known artist in NC, then throughout the Southeast.

Anything else that would be interesting to know?
In November of 2008, I'll have my first one-person museum exhibition. It will be held at the North Carolina Central University Museum of Art. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Who is Eric McRay?"

The stars of the art world are usually seen as bad boys with tattoos, piercings, and all the clichés of popular romance. McRay is no cliché. He is an original. He is neither the starving artist nor the profiteering commercial artist. "I am an extraordinary gentleman with an adventurer's heart, but I'm no bohemian!" He is a man that has struggled throughout his career to achieve a high level of technical proficiency, pictorial intelligence and a sense of artistic legacy.

Outside of his artistic endeavors, Eric McRay is an exceptional man who is a dutiful husband and proud father, a supportive son and loyal friend to many. He attends church regularly, has a comfortable home, drives a modest car and strives for the American dream like most decent folk. He keeps a daily studio work schedule, lives near Raleigh, NC and vacations along the Carolina Coast with his family.

McRay earned a BFA degree at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, where he received a four-year scholarship. In 1998, he was juried into downtown Raleigh's prestigious Artspace. Eric has served in the offices of Vice-President and President of the Artspace Artists Association, as well as served on Artspace's board of directors. McRay has been featured on TV and radio, and in numerous newspapers and magazines. The Raleigh News & Observer named him one of the "Artists to Watch" for 2001. He was featured in the June 2002 issue of Southern Living Magazine. In 2008, McRay was anointed by Metro Magazine, "Best Local Artist".

Also, McRay has consistently participated in and supported many charitable art exhibits and other community art events. Some of McRay's corporate collectors include American Tobacco Campus, Duke University Medical Center, NC State University, UNC Chapel Hill, SAS Institute, and Western Wake Hospital, as well as many private collectors locally, nationally & internationally.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Eric McRay Enters the Blogosphere!"

"Sky Blue Reflections"

Fine Art Giclee, hand signed, and numbered by the artist. Printed on 100% cotton rag, acid-free, lignin-free archival quality paper. Certificate of Authenticity.

Image Size: 22 x 36

Edition Size: 100


"Voices of the Sea"

Fine Art Giclee, hand signed, and numbered by the artist. Printed on 100% cotton rag, acid-free, lignin-free archival quality paper. Certificate of Authenticity.

Image Size:
22 x 36

Edition Size: 100


I've finally made it to the Twenty-first century. Desktop computer, cell phones, PDA, website, and now I have a blog. Wow! I promise to make it worth your while.