Raymond Martinez was born by the sea in Barry, South Wales of Welsh–Spanish parentage. During his final year at his grammar school he was awarded the Vale of Glamorgan Scholarship allowing him to study for his first degree in fine art at the Cardiff College of Art in 1959. He was then accepted by the Slade School of Fine Art in London completing his studies there in 1961 and culminated in first prizes for both landscape and figure painting. This was followed by a post graduate year at the Slade, during which time Martinez won the Abbey Major Scholarship for the year 1962-63 held at The British School of Rome in Italy. The work he produced during this year resulted in The Gulbenkian Foundation Award. This led to Martinez being invited by the Lefevre Gallery in Bruton Street, London, to exhibit his work in a one-man show in their gallery. This association continued until 1977, with one-man exhibitions every two years.
This long term contract with the Lefevre allowed Martinez to return to Italy to live and continue his work there, initially in Rome, later in Tuscany when he worked in a studio in the Tuscan hills. During these years he exhibited at the Vaccarino Gallery in Florence and at the Schneider Gallery in Rome. Virtually all of his work was produced in Italy until 2007 when he returned once again to England on a permanent basis. His first major exhibition in London since then was at the Cork Street Gallery in 2009, the theme was based on a series of works entitled The Four Seasons.
While working in Italy the Italian landscape played a dominant role in the paintings Martinez produced there. Returning to his roots in Wales, he is now developing a new series of works based on his love of the sea.