Born in 1954, Ray grew up in an Orange County, California with orange groves, before the days of freeways and sprawling housing developments. It has given him an enduring affection for the untamed, undeveloped California of his youth.
in 1969, after the early death of his father and mother's ill-health, Ray was sent to Orme School, a beautiful, ranch-style boarding school in the Arizona desert. Its strong fine arts program helped Ray to discover his artistic talent.
He then attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he studied under John Asaro. He has also studied under Dan McCaw, Len Chmiel, Ned Jacob, and Mark Daily, among others.
Art Center is where Ray also met his wife, impressionist painter Peggi Kroll. While dating, the two of them would go out nightclubbing, to sketch rather than dance! It has been a successful partnership ever since.
Like many successful artists before him, Ray first pursued a career as an illustrator, establishing a studio in Los Angeles and then Scottsdale, Arizona. He got up the courage to switch to fine art in 1992 and has never looked back. As well as being a PAL instructor, Ray currently teaches figure and landscape workshops at the The Art Academy of Petaluma, formerly known as l'Atelier aux Couleurs: the Art Academy, in California, as well as several other locations across the country and abroad.
Ray and Peggi now live on a 20-acre ranch in Angels Camp, an old California gold rush town, surrounded by the oak-studded hills. Besides being an instructor for PAL, he currently teaches landscape, portrait and figure workshops throughout California, as well as several other locations across the country and abroad.
The Ray & Peggi Partnership
Peggi and Ray's workshops offer a wealth of knowledge of painting, generously and clearly given in each workshop. They employ several lesson plans to strengthen the individual artists’ skills. Many of these exercises have been passed on from earlier generations of artists and some lessons have been developed by Peggi and Ray.
Peggi and Ray have a combined 30 plus years experience in teaching workshops. They’ve also taught at many of the top representational art schools across the country and to many of the instructors teaching today.
Peggi works with students on learning to paint the figure within the landscape and in some workshops, where indicated, the still-life will be the subject matter. Whichever the subject matter, the focus is on improving drawing skills and seeing values and colors correctly and understanding their relationships adding additional information if the individual artist desires. Peggi's classes and workshops address design and technique in a manner in which the individual artist may express themselves in a personal way. The student experiences many specific assignments, which helps to "get to the point a little more quickly". Students end up covering a lot of canvas and "learning through earnest mileage". Students receive plenty of one-on-one instruction and individual demonstrations as needed.to each other. There are always daily demonstrations emphasizing the big shapes and establishing their relationships correctly. This provides a springboard to
Ray works with students on developing sketches that can then be used for creating a studio painting. Ray will demonstrate his approach to gathering all pertinent aspects in the field respective to the finished painting; scouting, anticipating, painting quick color sketches, pre-mixing, editing, photo-referencing, and ultimately designing a studio painting.
Ray demonstrates and explains all facets; creating field sketches, thinking design (light and dark shapes), drawing with accuracy, working on values, relating color temperature and intensity, creating quick sketches, shooting good reference, and keeping track of all this! Ray explains, "My approach is to make a visual statement, a complete thought in paint. Successful studio painting requires an idea with a totality, an iconograph, if you will, of your subject with accurate color and value, supporting elements." Ray walks students through their idea and assists them with their approach and strategy.
Some classes and workshops offered by Plein Air Liason will also give the student the opportunity to paint coastal beach scenes. Ray's coastal classes and workshops will focus on what to look for when painting water, white water, reflections, and waves. With its constant movement, it can be mesmerizing. You will have a clearer understanding of how to paint water that looks translucent, reflective, and moving when shown what to look for with explanations and demonstrations. As with all of Ray's classes and workshops, there's a comprehensive approach to painting in general.
“I love the beach,” Peggi says. “All ethnicities are there, calling for different colors, ranging from raw ochre out of the tube to the light ﬂesh of a fair-skinned redhead on vacation from Wisconsin.” The variety of ﬂesh tones on the beach can be surprising, especially when the impact of clothing and reﬂected light is factored in. What color is ﬂesh? Whatever I see,” Peggi says. “A green umbrella will give you green ﬂesh. One Caucasian’s color can be very different from another one right next to her, and the shadow areas will have different hues. I try not to be too formulaic in choosing colors for ﬂesh tones. I ask myself what I am seeing—what colors, how they relate to each other, and their values—and then I organize them the best I can. If one color and value next to another one is wrong, there is no question about it.”
Peggi's coastal classes and workshops emphasize painting the figure on the beach and understanding the relationships of the sand to the flesh, the reflected light to the shadows and the water to the sky.