A professional artist since 1977, Ray-Mel Cornelius has received commissions from clients as diverse as Boy Scouts of America, the Dallas Opera, Electra Records, Frito Lay, GTE, Minute Maid, New York Times, Ocean Spray, Samsung, Time Inc., and many others. Cornelius’ work has received recognition from the New York Society of Illustrators, Graphics, Communication Arts and Print Magazines.
Cornelius grew up in the North Texas area, and received his art degree from East Texas State University (now part of the Texas A&M system). After living and working in Los Angeles and Houston, Cornelius settled back in Dallas, where he lives with his wife, Becky, and the ebb and flow of their collection of Feline-American adopted children.
Inspired by a trip to Northern New Mexico in 1996, Cornelius started to pursue his interest in landscape painting and has been on a dual illustration/painting track since then. He sees illustration and fine art as two sometimes quarrelsome siblings of the same family, and so far has been able to keep them in the same studio without too much chaos. For Cornelius, illustration serves to visually enhance and illuminate other forms of communication, such as literature, music, news and everything else.
Cornelius paints by layering colors, one over another, to achieve a representation of light defining form. Since he sees light as an additive element, i.e. a form is totally in shadow and basically formless until light delineates its form, Cornelius begins with a dark under painting and defines the form by applying layers using lighter tonal values until the desired chiaroscuro effect is reached. The fast drying qualities of the acrylic medium best facilitates this color blending technique.
Cornelius’ paintings reflect an interest in the landscape and the mythologies that accompany it. They give him the opportunity to explore representational and abstract subjects, with occasional forays into figurative interpretations of his version of Americana and folklore.