Ronald Chase spent between 1956 and 1958 living in Europe (Spain & Italy) slowly teaching himself to paint. He studied briefly in Malaga, and later in Florence.  By ‘59 he was spending summers in a studio in Perce, Quebec, and began exhibiting at the Galleie Libre, Montreal. In the early 60's he wintered 3 years at The MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire.

He moved to San Francisco in 1964 and the next year began his long association with the Triangle Gallery. During the 1960's he explored sculpture and painting using the past as a springboard.  In an interview from 1966:

"The idea of accumulation has become very important to me.  All of the objects I work with are the things people have used and collected in their lives. Though I work abstractly I consider most of the work either landscapes or portraits, but the portraits are collective and deal with the many inner parts of people's lives. The constructions I consider extended paintings and photographs.  I have always had a affinity to bas-relief and the grid so many of my early works reflect that. The mix of painting, sculpture and photography has been important to me from the beginning."