Ray was born in Birmingham. He shone at school in art, but was steered into a "proper job" by his parents. After service in the Birmingham City Police Cadets and in the Royal Marines Ray went into a career in the Civil Service. However, throughout his life he continued to paint in oils, developing his skills in painting from life, abstraction and more recently in landscape.
In 1993 Ray took early retirement from the Civil Service to continue his art studies at Mappin Art Workshops and, ably assisted by his wife, Mai, to be free to paint full time. For the past few years Ray has drawn inspiration for his paintings from scenes around the Peak District, North Wales and Devon - and the occasional holiday scene abroad. He paints from drawings and photographs which he interprets in his own deeply sensitive way, often re-working a painting many times over to get the finish he seeks. His is a contemplative approach rather than the quick taker of impressions.
During his long painting life Ray has exhibited and sold works in Malta and across the UK. He has exhibited at the Great Sheffield Art Show since its beginning and in the South Yorkshire and Derbyshire Open Art competitions. Ray also serves on the Committee of Friends of Sheffield Art Galleries and Museums and for a number of years as Treasurer of Heeley Art Club.
Recent achievements include winning the landscape painting prize in the 2006 Derbyshire Open. His favourite painters are Lucien Freud, Gustav Klimt, Dame Laura Knight and his favourite painting is Valley of La Hermida by David Bomberg (1935) hanging in Graves Gallery.