Rainbow artists Jack and Natasha Ragland are featured this month at the Merc art exhibit.
The Merc features 29 of Natasha Ragland’s paintings and 20 of her father’s work. An additional five paintings apiece are displayed at the Ronald H. Roberts Temecula Public Library. The exhibit opened Aug. 4 and runs through Aug. 27.
“It’s nice,” Jack Ragland said. “It’s primarily kind of like an honor show to be there.”
“They gave us a special show, I guess,” Natasha Ragland said. “I think it’s a great honor, and I’m excited because a lot of times you only get to show a couple of your works.”
Natasha Ragland noted that delivering 59 paintings required an adjustment from previous logistics. “We actually had to go back for a second load,” she said.
The Ragland family moved from Iowa to Rainbow, California in 1976, when Natasha Ragland was two, although Jack Ragland’s parents had purchased land in Rainbow in 1943 and he spent part of his early childhood in Rainbow. He was raised in El Monte, California, and took doctorate courses in art history at University of California Los Angeles, although a dissertation was scrapped when his adviser informed him that a Ph.D. in art history would likely limit him to art history and restrict opportunities in other art positions. Ragland has taught drawing and painting, as well as art history at Simpson College in Iowa, before moving to Rainbow and becoming a full-time artist. The Ragland family has lived in their current home, which includes an art studio, since 1978; Jack Ragland spent two years building the house and didn’t paint during that time.
Jack Ragland said that painting improves acuity and creativity skills.
“It makes life richer and more exciting,” he said.
Natasha Ragland is a primarily a piano and voice instructor. She is also a singer. She sings and leads the choir at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Menifee on Sundays, and she will be featured at a concert Sept. 21 at the Fallbrook Library. She began exhibition-level art 13 years ago after her dog died, painting a memorial of him, and her involvement in art subsequently intensified.
Some of Jack Ragland’s paintings at the Merc are from his early-Rainbow years, although most were painted between 2015 and 2017. The displayed art of Natasha Ragland was painted between 2009 and 2017.
“I find it hard to imagine life without painting anymore,” Jack Ragland said.