York artist Ray Fearn dies aged 63

York artist Ray Fearn at his easel

Mausoleum 2013 by Ray Fearn

Updated in News

A York artist who died after losing a brave two-year battle against cancer carried on painting until the end, his widow revealed.

Ray Fearn, 63, astonished his friends and family with his determination to carry on with his life’s work.

For one exhibition, he completed 26 pictures in four months while seriously ill and receiving chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other treatments.

He died surrounded by a circle of family and friends at his home shortly after completing his last picture of the White Horse of Kilburn.

For much of his life, Ray was found standing at his easel in the upstairs studio of his home in Ousecliffe Gardens, Clifton.

But when he became bedridden, the house was re-arranged so he could paint at tables and a mini-easel downstairs while sitting in his wheelchair.

Widow Julie Fearn said: “He was an incredibly positive and social person and put up a fantastic fight.

“He loved working and even though he was very ill he was determined not to let it stand in his way.”

Ray had dedicated his life to art since boyhood. He had left school with no qualifications at 15 so he studied at night schools to gain the O and A levels he needed to study fine art at Coventry.

He trained as an arts teacher but could not get a job at first and ended up working for the Post Office.

Ray then went on a refresher course at York St John and taught art design and graphics at a number of schools both in York and the Dales.

He had a passion for the theme of nature bursting forth and made a name for himself for his vivid landscapes in oils and acrylic on canvas and board and pastels.

He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2011, two years after meeting his second wife Julie.

She said people were often fooled by her husband’s dour appearance, when in fact he was very good humoured.

Ray who also leaves behind a daughter, Kay, 26, from his first marriage, submitted to exhibit at York Studios both in 2011, after he had been diagnosed, and 2013 by which time he was seriously ill.

He died in February but his work can still be seen as part of an exhibition in the Donderdag Collective gallery space at Mermaid and Miller on Swinegate from May 3 - May 31.

For information go to: https://www.facebook.com/DonderdagCollective?hc_location=stream

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