On the opening day of his first ever exhibition in Spain, at the Galería de Bellas Artes in Cómpeta, Ray Murphy learned that his entry had been chosen as this year’s Cómpeta Noche del Vino poster.
Ray is from Essex, where he lives and runs a business with his wife looking after children, which they have done for over 20 years. They have been visiting Cómpeta regularly since 2009 and although they have never lived outside the UK, Ray says that he “would consider Cómpeta”.
Despite never working as a full-time artist, he hopes to be full-time in the near future. “I am a self-taught artist and have painted from a young age,” he says.
Ray says that his inspirations come from landscape, seascape, wild animals and beautiful women and that the artists that most inspire him are professor Ken Howard, “because of his mastery of tone”, and Joaquín Sorolla, “because of his mastery of colour and light”.
Ray explains that a good friend, who he met on his first visit to Cómpeta, suggested that he should design a poster for the Noche del Vino competition after he’d seen some old posters on the walls of a bodega in Cómpeta and Ray asked him about them.
“I was delighted to have my work chosen as it is a great feeling to have one’s work appreciated and acknowledged,” Ray says of his success. It is the first competition that Ray has entered.
As for the poster design, he says: “I wanted to create a story. I wanted to combine the wine, the grapes, something traditionally Spanish and a little bit of magic, hence the creation of the flamenco dancer dancing the fruit into wine.”
Ray returned to Cómpeta on 5 August for the official presentation of the poster. However, the event was postponed until Wednesday at the last minute due to the death of a relative of one of the organisers, meaning Ray was unable to attend. Due to prior commitments he won’t be at this year’s Noche del Vino either, to which the artist confesses he has never been.
Although the exhibition has now finished, much of Ray’s work can be found on his website: www.paintthemouse.com.
Cómpeta’s Noche del Vino will be taking place on Tuesday 15 August. As well as being the day of the town’s patron saint, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, who is said to look after the vineyards, it also marks the time when the town traditionally waved off the grape harvesters, who would be away for up to three months picking the fruit in the fields around Cómpeta.
The first Noche del Vino
In 1974 the first Noche del Vino was a spontaneous party which started when local resident, Aurelio Fernández Navas, gave away free wine to locals and the event has taken place every year since then.
It has become known as one of Cómpeta’s most important local fiestas and takes place around the Plaza de la Vendimia during the day, before moving to Plaza Almijara for a concert in the evening.
Free wine is still provided and music and dancing is the order of the day, going on well into the night.