Ray Noesen is an accomplished Fine Arts painter specializing in oil pastels. He was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. He attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received both his undergraduate degree (Fine Arts, with a concentration in painting and drawing) and graduate degree (Historic Architectural Preservation).
For many years, Ray was a lead artist for Conrad Schmitt Studio in New Berlin, Wisc.. He traveled the country investigating, documenting & restoring the artwork of historic buildings (i.e., churches, state capitols & grand theaters). Several of his CSS projects have won awards and have been featured on magazine covers. Among these accomplishments, Ray personally discovered, revealed and restored a previously unknown WPA mural for the Schofield Army Barracks in Hawaii. He also restored the proscenium arch mural for The Chicago Theater.
Although his award-winning, "Rosebud" (AT&T Collection) was a large scale (10' x 6') oil painting on canvas, much of Ray's own work has been on a very intimate scale, such as trump l'oeil works on postcard sized paper and Renaissance portraits on eggs. After two decades of working on a colossal scale and ten years of working on an intimate scale, Ray has settled back into working on a more human scale.
Ray became fascinated with oil pastels early in his artistic development and has produced oil pastel works on paper throughout his career. (Oil pastel is a relatively new art medium (created by the Japanese in the 1920's and expanded upon by Picasso and Sennilier in the '40's & '50's) but also a relatively overlooked and often dismissed medium.) After retiring from CSS, Ray has returned to creating his own paintings, primarily in his favored medium of oil pastel. He is currently exploring four different subjects: koi-pond reflections, plant-life close-ups, architectural studies and "found," still- life tableaus. "Beyond the Surface" marks the beginning of Ray's renewed journey of exploring and showcasing his use of oil pastels.