Ray Lang is an enthusiastic painter of early 20th century Santas inspired by old postcards. Please visit the artist's portfolio as he tells a story to each painting and many pieces of art are for sale.
What makes you paint Santa's?
It's just something I never grew out of, the same as collecting toy robots, tin wind-ups, and clockwork things.
If I didn't paint Santa's, I'd just be the same as everyone else... painting portraits and landscapes... I can't do that stuff.
What paints do you use?
Designer's gouache and watercolor, both water based. You can never get the old classic oil paint result from the masters of the Victorian era, especially the Christmas scenes. To me all these artists, whose work ended up on old postcards, are un-sung heroes.
Do you display your work year round?
No, just for Christmas. But I do have four on the living room walls. And I always have Mum's dedicated painting, as her Birthday was Christmas Day 1918. Between the other three I swap and change.
I have painted over forty Victorian Christmas scenes. Four are Ellen Clapsaddle classics, and one is a Brundage classic. All are 30 by 22 inches.
Do you paint other subjects as well?
Not at the moment. I used to paint the old American comic covers from the 50's to the 70's what I call the golden era... I mean I copy them, and they were painted on A1 size paper, that's just under 3 x 2 ft. I have done many Marvel and DC comic covers, but I thought it was risky because of copyright concerns. I have painted Batman, Flash, Spiderman, Werewolf by Night, a lot of SCIFI, horror and monster related subjects.
Are you selling your work at all?
I have sold a few to a friend in Mississippi, as here in the UK there is no interest in Victorian or Edwardian Christmases. I know there are a lot of Christmas and Santa Claus enthusiasts in the United States and Canada.
Do you have a formal art education or are you self-taught?
I am self-taught.
How do you celebrate Christmas?
It is difficult now, as Mum passed away Easter 2000. That was the end of Christmas as I knew it. Since then I concentrate more on my artwork. It has made me stronger and I believe in what I do. I spend Christmas on my own and prefer it that way.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Well, I try and help other people more than anything, but I do that all year round... as the old joke goes: IT'S CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY IN MY HOUSE!
Christmas is tough time for a lot of people, and can bring out the best and worst in anyone!