Raymond Ching was born in Brooklyn,
Wellington, New Zealand in 1939. His paintings were first
seen in Auckland in 1966, with a showing of thirty watercolors
and gouaches of birds.
These early paintings and a further
collection shown the following year, firmly established his
reputation in New Zealand and formed the basis of work that
was, by 1972, recognized among the finest of its kind in the
Anyone who is concerned with
the practice of a painting technique, may very well soon reach
a point where mastery of his craft becomes his foremost ambition.
Brilliance of technique becomes the center of his thoughts
and he will soon select only those subjects that offer opportunities
to display some part of that technique. This is often true
of "realist" painters, who by necessity strive for
the acquisition of an artistic skill which can help them understand
the true nature of their medium. Raymond Ching has so well
mastered his technique that he is, fortunately, able to leave
concern for this aspect of his art behind him, and to concentrate
on what finally matters, the realization of his own private
images into paintable concepts.
Late in 1968 The Reader's Digest
commissioned Mr. Ching to illustrate their now famous book,
THE BOOK OF BRITISH BIRDS. The target date for publication
was summer of 1969
a seemingly impossible task. However
he met the problem head-on and in less than one year completed
the 250 paintings of birds necessary to finish the book.
At first thought one might think
that to complete such a Herculean feat some accuracy and detail
were sacrificed. Nothing was sacrificed and many ornithologists,
including Sir Peter Scott, have acclaimed the book to be the
finest of its kind yet produced.
Three large coffee-table books
have been published on the work of Raymond Ching. The first
THE BIRD PAINTINGS
(1977) which contains twenty-six full
page color plates and fifty drawings. This was followed by
STUDIES AND SKETCHES OF A BIRD PAINTER (1981), an equally
spectacular work. The third book,
THE ART OF RAYMOND CHING
(1981), features both wildlife and non-wildlife subjects.
Five other books which feature
his art are
NEW ZEALAND BIRDS (1986),
WILD PORTRAITS (1988),
KIWIS (1990), JOURNEY OF AN ARTIST (1990), and
A VOICE FROM
THE WILDERNESS (1994).
An artist's strongest critics
are usually his fellow artists. In the case of Raymond Ching
many of his contemporaries regard him as one of the greatest
bird painters of the century
perhaps of all time.