Born in Sunderland, Ray spent most of his working life as a sea-going engineer. In 1987 he decided on a change of career and having always had an interest in art took a course in Technical Illustration and Design at Blackpool and Fylde College, going on to Sunderland University where he obtained an HND. He then worked as a freelance technical illustrator.
Having now retired, Ray spends much of his time painting those subjects dear to his heart – the sea, sailing and the outdoors. He is a member of the North of England Art Club and has exhibited at various venues throughout the north.