A successful illustrator and then painter in traditional style of western genre, especially ranch scenes, Ray Strang was born in Sandoval, Illinois and had a successful career in New York and then in Arizona.
He went to school in Centralia, Illinois, and the Art Institute of Chicago. His art studies were interrupted by his service in World War I, and he was wounded at the Argonne. In 1920, he returned to the Art Institute in Chicago and then went to New York City where he studied at the Art Students League and the Society of Illustrators. For seventeen years, he was a successful advertising illustrator, working for three agencies and specializing in fiction and magazines.
In 1938, for his health, he made a visit to Tucson, Arizona, and realized, according to Harold and Peggy Samuels that "that the Old West I wanted to paint was still the West of today" ("Encyclopedia"). He bought an Arizona ranch, turned a bunkhouse into a studio, and painted ranch life scenes and landscapes, especially horses and "rugged individuals who lived lonely lives of hard work and privation." (Dawdy, 224)
He was known as a quiet, kindly man.
Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
Doris Dawdy, Artists of the American West, Vol. 1