Man Evolves.

Art, artists, prison art

Raymond Rowley King – O through S

If you have a painting by Raymond Rowley King and can take a digital picture of it, I would like to add it to these pages.  Dimensions and a title, if available, would be appreciated.  Images may be sent by email to alan6401 @ hotmail . com.  If you want to sell the painting, let me know.

These pages attempt to catalog the oeuvre of the brilliant artist Raymond Rowley King, arranged in alphabetical order by title.  They are ranged over five pages to make them easier to load quickly.   On this page are items O through S.   As additional works are submitted to me, I will add them as time permits.   A reasonably good image is required for publication.  If the collector wants to have the owner’s name mentioned, please include that information.  At present, I have images of just over 100 of the works of Raymond Rowley King.  Some times his name is spelled Raymond Rouley King incorrectly.  Whenever possible, I prefer to include the title of the work as well as the dimensions .. and whether or not the work is being offered for sale, and, if so, please suggest a  price.  In that regard, the location of the artwork is an important factor.  At present, emails may be sent to . You may also call me at (916)383-5341.

              Old Ford



Why this painting bears this title is no longer a mystery.  Ray was brought up by his grandparents in southern Oregon.  This image must have represented extreme comfort to him.

What we do find in this 13-1/2 inch by 13-1/2 inch piece is a wealth of details to be discovered upon extended study.  The box in the lower left seems to contain wood for the stove.    Light comes from the firebox through holes in the cast iron on the left side of the stove.  Fresh cookies or muffins have emerged and on the top over the open oven door perhaps some water is being warmed for bathing.  A coffee pot is being kept warm on the back left above the fire box.  Is there some bacon frying in the skillet?  The painting gives us the smell of burning wood, fresh hot baked items, coffee and sizzling bacon.  A cup is being kept warm on the horizontal part above the cooking surface.  It is alive with sound, smells and the anticipation of a cook nearby and about to enter the scene  A hooked rug gives us warmth for our feet  Light pours through the window.

What objects inhabit the upper left-hand corner of this piece where the stovepipe enters the wall carrying the smoke outside?  What is the function of the horizontal part above the cooking surface?

There exists a version of this scene that includes his son as a young boy.

                   Paper Mache (Papier-mâché) Face

(Image not available)

                Partially Cloudy with Light Rain in the San Francisco Bay Area

This painting was done on January 15 of 1963, when Ray was still incarcerated at Vacaville.  41 X 41 inches.  On the back side of the painting is the notation:


             Portræt of Woman

             Portrait of Girl with Long Dark Hair

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

             Portrait of Lewis H Fudge Deputy Warden San Quentin

             Portrait of Old Man

This image is believed to be of Raymond’s grandfather.

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

             Rainy Afternoon

Compare with a similar work below titled Girl with Book

Both paintings are part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

             Red and White

An additional work has emerged titled, Red and White”.  Painted in New York in 1970, it measures 44” x 20”.  There does seem to be a connection in mood with “Leah” and with A Moment in Israel, both done in 1966.  It was purchase through a gallery in California in 1974.

             Reuben Strommy

Consider the circumstance in which this painting was made in 1964.  Raymond was still incarcerated at Vacaville Medical Facility.  He had sold many paintings at the prison art sales which put money in his pockets so-to-speak.  He could buy the things that other prisoners wanted, typically cigarettes.  The guards hated him because he had earned so much money even though their union had forced the prison to put half of the proceeds of the art sales into their ‘widows and orphans’ fund.

Now comes Ruben Strommy, a rotund fellow prisoner and probably in need of cigarettes.  He agrees to pose nude for Ray, an activity for which jails do not permit much privacy.  Can we see any clues in this 51-1/2 inch by 52-1/2 painting, almost certainly done on Masonite.

Discern, if you can, the expression on Ruben’s face.  Is that his expression or is it what Ray painted?  Does he seem suspicious of Ray’s motives or was he plotting seduction?  Was he pleased with the result?

Note also the chair in which Ruben is sitting.  Quite posh for a jail cell.  At first I thought that this might have been in the warden’s office, but have recently learned that there was a large room used as a studio that was open during the daytime.  Raymond was the only prisoner who had his own key to the studio.  About all that Ray did during his waking hours was either draw or paint.  Ruben was a homosexual, so he didn’t mind posing nude for another man.  A new detail has been passed on to me regarding this painting.  It is about Ruben’s right hand, the one that is raised up.  Something is dangling from it.  It is a chicken drumstick.

             Richard Sample, Painter

             Sacramento River Tapestry

This work was recently (2017) acquired from an estate sale in the area north of San Francisco Bay.  Two other works were sold during that sale,  I would very much like to have images of those two pieces to add to this sight.

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

             Sacramento Wedding

             Sailboat for Sale

             Salvation Army Band (Power in the Blood)

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

             San Francisco Tapestry

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

      This painting is said to be a view of a city from a prison.  That may be so, however, King was incarcerated at Vacaville Medical Facility in Vacaville, California.  The only hill anywhere near that prison is Cement Hill in neighboring Fairfield.  There are no Victorian houses on Cement Hill … only cows, and the remains of the once-thriving city called Cement.

View from Prison by Raymond Rowley king

In its day, Cement had a complete cement manufacturing plant that was constructed down the side of Cement Hill so that, once the local supply of limestone and clay was brought to the top of the hill, the process of turning those minerals in to cement proceeded down the hill, with the final product loaded at the level of the delta.  Cement was a complete city unto itself with a housing for the workers and their families, schools for their children, a hotel, a general store, a bar, and a whorehouse.  If there were any Victorian era houses there, they were long ago torn down along with the rest of the plant after it closed in the late 1890s.  The local supply of limestone had run out.  The plant was briefly re-opened in the early years of the 20th Century using limestone trucked in from El Dorado county, but this proved to be too costly.

This particular painting measure a little over 42 inches square and is in Tel-Aviv as of this writing.

             Sandspit (part of Osaka Maru series)

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

             Saturday Noon

This work is of two figures with one working on the hair of the other. At first glance they appear to be women. This may not have been the inspiration for the piece. If I were to hazard a guess, this was done while Ray was incarcerated at Vacaville Medical Facility in California. Effeminate male homosexuals (known in prison as ‘punks’), who were facing state prison time, were usually sent to this facility to protect them from the general population of prisoners. For Ray, they were an interesting subject matter, one which shows up in paintings done well after his release.
Of course, in prison, they would not have worn skirts and blouses or have been permitted to grow their hair long.  But, they could act like women. From a private collection.

Saturday Noon (detail)

The dimensions of this piece are not currently available. The bottom portion of the painting is shown in the second image as described by the painting’s owner, “There is a lower portion (of the painting) with left figure sitting on a stool with rungs. The right hand figure takes interesting posture and wears sandals. Both figures “fade” into outlined figures only, no wash, color, or human texture”. This second image was submitted to me on
October 16, 2006, for which I am very grateful. It is no doubt done in oil, probably on 1/4 inch tempered Masonite.

            Sea Poem  (part of Osaka Maru series)

Sandspit by Raymond Rowley King 1964

            A third large painting (48″x48″) has emerged on the subject of the Japanese prisoner ship the Osaka Maru.  Done in 1964, it also depicts the skeletal remains of the sunken hull.  The other two versions may be seen at .  One is titled Sea Poem, with a subtitle, Osaka Maru.  The second is also titled San Spit and is somewhat smaller than this third version.

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

             Sea Poem 2 (part of Osaka Maru series)

(Image not available)

             Self Portrait

             Self Portrait (also titled Man with a Hat elsewhere)

The same person who emailed me the image of the lower half of Saturday Noon also sent along images of two works that were new to me.  Though the dimensions were not included, the first is more or less round in shape set in a square frame and is of a man with kind of wild hair and a mustache.  He is wearing a top hat and a t-shirt.  The top hat belonged to Raymond’s grandfather.  It is, in fact, a self-portrait and its dimensions a roughly 12″ x 12″.  No information is available as to when it was painted or where it is now.

Man With Top Hat by Raymond Rowley King

Only a black and white image is available to me at this time.


             Ship Sailing Down Hudson

             Sister in Law

Sister in Law by Raymond Rowley King

This piece is of similar dimensions … 12 inches by 11.4 inches.  A closer detail …

Sister in Law by Raymond Rowley King detail

Considering the size of the painting, this is an amazing rendering.

             Sketch of Louise Naughton

Untitled, a pencil drawing, possibly use of charcoal as well. Work was created approx Winter, 1971. Subject was a statuesque, redheaded Australian dancer, Louise Naughton … at the time, a soloist ballerina for Royal Winnipeg Ballet, by way of France and London.

Raymond Rowley King was in Winnipeg attempting to fabricate a Canadian passport for escape to Europe.
The one who supplied this image has knowledge of part of his process: He would loiter at hospital waiting rooms where visitors were anxious, stoic regarding health or surgeries of loved ones. Time to kill and given their stress, they would blather on regarding lifestyle and personal information. Ray would engage conversation extracting details, enough for an “alias”, should he be interviewed.  He also took photos of fellows he might reasonably resemble, yet they might be a Ukrainian wheat farmer in town from Moosejaw or Brandon, Manitoba.

              Sleeping Girl


             Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Sorcerers Apprentice by Raymond Rowley King


             Steel Work Box

The theme of the woman’s head is echoed on the surface of Raymond’s steel work box, which measured 12 inches by 16-3/4.

The current whereabouts of this workbox is unknown though it is presumed to be in California in that King died in San Francisco.  Head Turning is said to be in California.

             Street Car Diner on Pilings

This painting is part of the Edwards-Pedersen Collection.

         Studio Corner

             Studio Organ

This is a small charcoal work done on a church tile.  It is of a studio organ.  Several books are piled on top of the organ.  A cat seems to have jumped up on it to have a look.  The piece is in a private collection in Oregon.

             Study in Line and Wash

            Study in Paint and Varnish #2

Study in Paint and Varnish Number 2 by Raymond Rowley King

In this piece, two figures are presented.  In the foreground, a nude woman is brushing her hair.   There seems to be a reflection in a mirror behind her the light from which provides some outline of her body.  This one is eight-1/2 inches in diameter.

Study in Paint and Varnish Number 2 by Raymond Rowley King detail

Note that, in each case, the hands of the figures are engaged in some activity.

Study in Paint and Varnish Number 2 by Raymond Rowley King reverse side

The back side of the painting reveals that it was done in 1971 and, as is true of all four, they were painted in Israel.

In this piece, two figures are presented.  In the foreground, a nude woman is brushing her hair.   There seems to be a reflection in a mirror behind her the light from which provides some outline of her body. The painting is eight-1/2 inches in diameter.  The back side of the painting reveals that it was done in 1971 and, as is true of all four, they were painted in Israel.

             Study in Silver

(No image available)