William Wray is a California painter. His blog, in fact, is titled California Painter William Wray.
He paints quickly realized, direct and painterly images of the California landscape in the area around where he lives; and frequently posts the paintings to his blog. He works primarily en plein air and sometimes supplements the outdoor work with reference photographs and further work in the studio.
He works in a muted, often dark palette, punctuated with brighter areas and splashes of color that sometimes become the focal point of the image and sometimes push the darker forms forward. He says in his recent posts that he is trying to move toward abstraction, stepping slowly through more flattened and geometric forms in his paintings from life.
Personally, I’m sorry to hear that, because I really like the balance he has already achieved between natural forms and abstracted blocks and chunks of color. His paintings read well as compositions, with large areas of light and dark balanced against bits of texture and detail. His brushstrokes are obvious and forceful, his subject matter is pulled from the everyday and overlooked rather than the picturesque, and his color choices owe more to Expressionism than Impressionism.
Wray has a background in animation and comics and is familiar to many for his work with painted colors on the Ren and Stimpy Show, as well as comics work for Mad Magazine and on Hellboy Jr. with Mike Mignola.
You can see a little of that history in the “springyness” of his forms at times, but most of the influence on his work seems to come from other California plein air painters, the Expressionists and the immediate nature of the California landscape itself.