"I'm still very traditional, when you get right down to it. This is simply a new tool, a new medium. I don't know how it will evolve technically. I don't precisely see where it is going and that's part of the fun of it." - Jim Rey
A professional painter for close to 50 years, Jim Rey was also an illustrator and a graphic arts director, in both Hollywood and the San Francisco Bay Area. Born and raised in northern California, Rey’s keen interest in ranch life was fueled by his grandfather and uncle, both cattle ranchers. Although his subject matter primarily focuses on the equine, Rey often paints the cowboy and the ranching experience.
In 2002 he started using a digital tablet for his nightly sketching sessions. This new means of artistic expression set off a transformation in his creative process, as well as establishing a new tradition and new set of devotees to his work.
"It began with showing off my new toy. People receiving my emailed sketches couldn't see what I was doing as far as mechanics, but the digital aspect facilitated an involvement between them and the work that I couldn't have anticipated. It became part of their morning ritual: pour a cup of coffee, open email, and look at the day's sketch." - Jim Rey
This digital collection features more than 300 images, many of them studies used as references for his traditional oil paintings. He has been quick to recognize the potential advantages of adding a digital step to his creative process.
As these digital sketches became more popular, Rey decided to see how far he could take this new tool. Now available printed on aluminum panels of varying sizes, these modern-traditional Western pieces make an impactful and enduring visual statement.
"When an artist works on a still life or works with a model, he arranges his subjects in a way that is pleasing. [With the e-pen] I'm able to shift and rearrange, to make items bigger or smaller, to crop my final arrangement. Fundamentally, the e-pen is a tool for setting up a painting's composition." - Jim Rey