Gail Ragains


Gail Ragains
Acrylic on Canvas

Gail Ragains expresses, “I paint like a jazz musician improvises” She starts each painting with a strong foundation and branches out to make it her own. Her paintings have a robust physical and expressive style. Pushing the envelope with bold brushstrokes and compelling colors, she explores the limitless feelings and harmonies that the paintbrush can evoke. The abstract shapes and colors of her figurative works are reminiscent of the Bay Area Figurative artists of the 1950s, yet holds a strong style of her own.

Ragains’ abstract paintings are a kinesthetic reaction of color and design, giving the viewers the pleasure of their own interpretations. She works mainly in acrylic and mixed media. She has exhibited her work in various solo and group shows and represented by several galleries in the US and Canada. In 2012, San Francisco Magazine highlighted her as one of the “Eight Local Artists to Watch.”

Ragains has been painting for over 25 years. A background in dance and athletics and weekly drawing sessions with a live model has given her an intuitive connection to the human form.

Gail Ragains is a Redwood City-based artist; she was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Artist’s Statement

Creativity is my favorite mode of travel, an open-ended journey. I don’t need much when I am in my studio, except materials to produce lines, shapes, and colors.

Once the paint cans are open, my mind is free to discover and explore. The figure has always been dominant in my years of making art. What inspires me are the physical gestures and emotions of people. My figures often are androgynous; however, a subtle angle of the shoulder or stance in the posture may suggest feminine or masculine, or give a certain tension to the relationship.

When I start a painting I prefer loose and gestural brushstrokes, layering warms and cools, lights and darks, and random lines applying and erasing, dripping and slopping. I dance around the canvas.

At some point, the figure or figures on the canvas require the dance to slow down, and this is when I simplify. I slow down and think more. I anchor the painting with the use of darks. I turn the painting upside down to lose the subject and paint more abstractly. I go back to the roots of composition and color theory.

I prefer to leave a painting just a bit unfinished rather than overworked. This allows the viewer to enter into the painting with his/her own story. Having lived in California my entire life, I am influenced by the California colors, golden hills, and clear blue skies, swimsuits, and swimming pools.