Ronald Bowen was born in 1944. He grew up in Lake Placid Florida, a quiet town surrounded by lakes, citrus groves, and ranches. From an early age he showed a talent for drawing.
From 1962 to 1967 he studied art, along with music and languages, at Florida State University in Tallahassee, completing his final year at their study center in Florence, Italy. This first contact with Europe was a turning point for him.
Finished with his university studies, he taught art for a year at his former school in Lake Placid. In 1968 he chose to return to Europe to teach and continue his art studies, spending a summer in Paris, then a year teaching in a small boarding school in England followed by a year in Nice, France, enrolled as a full-time painting student at the Ecole Nationale d'Art Décoratif.
In 1970 he returned to Paris as "Artist in Residence" at the Fondation des Etats-Unis, a scholarship offered by the Woolley Foundation. The scholarship was renewed for a second year. In 1973 he began teaching art classes part-time at the American School of Paris and has since made that city his home, retiring from the school in 2008. In 2010 he was awarded the Monique Corpet Prize for painting from the Taylor Foundation in Paris. in 2018 the Taylor Foundation awarded him the Madeleine Couderc Painting Prize. In 1993 Ronald Bowen received French Nationality, making him a citizen of both the U.S. and France.
The artist lives and works in a light-filled Montmartre studio surrounded with tropical plants overlooking Paris rooftops and the Basilica of Sacré Coeur in the distance.