Friday, May 19, 2017

YouTube Vlog #2 - What Inspires Me?

Hello again, friends!

Here is my second YouTube vlog... This one on inspiration.  What inspires me?  How do we get inspired to create?  One way I find is to never allow yourself to become idle.  The act of creating itself may be all the inspiration you need.  And if not, there are plenty of ways to seek it out.  I will most likely be making multiple videos on this question because there are truly multiple things in which we can find inspiration. 

News From The Studio 5/19/17

Hello friends!

Here is the latest from the studio:

  • If you haven't seen yet, I have begun to revive my YouTube channel with new video content.  I am hoping to keep it up on a more regular basis, and I already have a long list of ideas for upcoming vlogs.  They are simply going to be on a variety of things including tips and techniques, art history, demos, and discussions about various art topics.  I'm also planning on including video trips to the Nelson-Atkins museum and First Fridays in the Crossroads in KC.  It's going to be an adventure!  If you missed my first video, check it out on my previous post.  And please go and subscribe to my YouTube channel!  My next vlog is called "What Inspires Me?" and will be posted very soon.

  • I am busy working on a new series of paintings called Imago Dei.  My previous series Light Up The Darkness is on hiatus for now.  I intend to return to it sometime, but a creative wave of inspiration (speaking of) came over me and led me to this new series of figurative pieces.  Many of these paintings are going to be nudes or partial nudes, and I have written about my thoughts on nude paintings before on this blog.  My thought is simply this:  A nude painting should be more than just a depiction of the body, unless it is an academic piece or a study.  Like any work of art, what is its statement?  For this series, I am painting what I believe to be the beauty of God's ultimate creation - the fearfully and wonderfully made human being.  But unlike the classical works of the past that saw the human being and his form as being god-like itself, my paintings for this series are going to incorporate an element of distortion.  This represents the fact that although we are God's ultimate creation and beautifully made in His image, we are still in an imperfect state.  As a result of original sin, we as humans are not yet who we were originally meant to be.  For me, this series is an exciting exploration of that tension of being perfectly made, yet living imperfect lives.
oil on canvas
18x24 inches

oil on canvas
20x16 inches

oil on linen
28x22 inches

oil on linen
30x24 inches

oil on linen
36x24 inches
  • The National Oil and Acrylic Society (NOAPS) has offered what sounds to be an amazing opportunity for its members, and I am hoping to be selected for it.  The RS Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas is going to be representing 60 NOAPS members from September through December, 2017.  Selected artists will be showing 3-5 works at the gallery for those four months, and will apparently have a large amount of First Friday and tourist traffic during that time.  The gallery will be promoting the exhibition through some major nationwide art publications and other media.  One of my goals for this year is to finally seek gallery representation outside of the Kansas City area, and I figured this would be a great opportunity to start trying.  So if you would please pray and wish me well on this opportunity, I would appreciate it!
  • Hey!  One thing I have failed to promote much at all are my current listings on Ebay.  I have 24 original paintings from the past few years listed, many of which are smaller works.  Please check them out!  They are among the lowest priced paintings I have available.  The link to my Ebay is under the "Links" to the left side of this page.
  • My Go Fund Me campaign is still going!  Again, please consider a donation to help me out with my medical expenses.  Truly, every little amount with which you are able to help me out is a burden lifted, and I appreciate it all.  Plus, there just might be a painting in it for YOU!  Please check out my Go Fund Me page, and share it with everyone you know!

That's all the news for now.  Please stay tuned for my next YouTube vlog on inspiration, and for new works coming soon!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

YouTube Vlog #1 - My Studio Tour

Hello friends!

Today I want to share something new that I've been thinking about and working on for a few months now.  I thought it was time to start investing a little bit more effort and time into my YouTube channel.  I've had my channel for years, but haven't put any new, updated content on it for quite a while. 

So I'm working up several ideas for vlogs that will cover a number of different art topics.  My first one is a tour of my studio.  Future topics will include:  My library, drawing/painting demos, materials, palette, art terms, art history, etc.  Hope you will enjoy them!  Here's my first new vlog:

Stay tuned for more!  -Ryan

Saturday, May 6, 2017

GoFundMe - Ryan's Bogus (Gallbladder) Journey

Hi friends!

So as you may have read in a previous post, I recently had an awful gallbladder attack and had to undergo surgery to remove it. 

As it turns out, the one thing I was dreading is just about as burdensome as I was expecting.  I am talking about the medical expenses, of course.  After insurance, I still have quite an amount left to pay off.

So I am calling on you to help me with this burden with my new Go Fund Me campaign!  But I don't want you to think that I'm just asking for money.  It is actually really hard for me to do that even in situations like this when I know I need to.

So I want to sweeten the deal for YOU.  As incentive for your donations, I am throwing in a very special offer to the person who donates the highest amount to my campaign.  Please watch my story here:

I sincerely appreciate every donation.  Every little bit helps a lot.  I hope you will consider making a donation to help me out, and you may do so by checking out my Go Fund Me page here:

Thank you all so much, and God bless!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Upcoming - Images Gallery Juried Exhibition

Hello friends,

Just a quick note to announce that I have been accepted into Images Art Gallery's annual juried exhibition, which opens with a reception on Friday, April 21st from 6:00 - 9:00pm.  All 3 of my entries were juried into the show, so I'm hopeful it will be a great show.

This year, Images Gallery has posted all of the juried entries on their website, which you can check out at

Last year, I was very blessed to have been awarded with the Best of 2D prize, which came as a total surprise to me.  For as long as I've done the Images show, it's been a tough one.  I almost didn't do this year's show, but I decided to at the last minute (literally about 2 days before the registration was due). 

As for new work, now that I am starting to feel better after my surgery, I have been able to feel comfortable enough to get back in the studio and work on stuff.  So keep watching out for more, friends.  I promise it's coming!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

News from the Studio (Or "Chronicles of my Cholecystectomy") 3/14/17

Hi friends!

This is going to be a fun update.  A lot sure has happened in the past 10 days, so let's get to it.

First, let's talk Blue Springs Art Show, and then I'll get to the other stuff.  The Blue Springs show was held back at Vesper Hall in Blue Springs, Missouri on March 4-5, and it went really well!  I went into it without any expectations as usual.  But I managed to take away 3 awards that weekend. 

My self-portrait was the 1st Place Portrait winner, and my painting The Crusader took 2nd in the Opaque category, as well as 2nd Place People's Choice.  All in all, it was a successful show yet again for me, and I couldn't be happier about it.

And now comes the real story of the past several days for me.  And it all started that Saturday night of the Blue Springs show, March 4th.  After a delicious meal at one of my favorite restaurants, I began to feel a slight stomach ache.  This is something I had felt before, and I had a bad feeling it was going to get worse as the evening progressed.  Although, in times past, it would turn out not as bad as I expected, so I still had hope it would be okay.  Still, as the night progressed, and while I was at the awards reception at Blue Springs, the ache in my stomach also began to progress.  By the time I was home and did my nightly before-bed routine, the ache in my stomach started turning to pain.  Real.  Awful.  Pain.  That pink Pepto-Bismol stuff that I tried to take did not work.

By 11:00pm, I was nauseous, and throwing up.  You would think throwing up might help with the stomach issues, because whatever was in there that was making me feel so awful was no longer there.  Nope.  Not the case.  In fact, it seemed as though my stomach pain was even worse at that point.  So the game was over.  It was emergency room time.

So there I am at the ER with my mom until sometime after 3:00am Sunday morning trying to get the pain under control.  They gave me an IV with some fluids, and medication.  In exchange, I gave them some of my fluids for them to run some labs.  Nothing serious came up, thank goodness.  But I still had no idea what was wrong with me.  My mom just happened to throw out the suggestion that it may be my gallbladder.  The ER doctor said, "Yeah, it's possible."  But since they decided not to even do an x-ray, it was hard to say. 

They told me to stick to a "bland" diet and to get in to see my doctor that week.  So I did on Wednesday.  Now, I really like my doctor because he doesn't mess around.  If I need something done, he gets it done, or puts an order in to have it done quickly.  After my quick appointment with him, he was almost about to admit me right there.  But we decided that I could come back first thing the next morning for an ultrasound to get to the bottom of this.  But he was pretty certain it was my gallbladder too.

So I came back the next morning, Thursday, and did just that.  My doctor told me he would get the results of the ultrasound within minutes, so I didn't even need to leave the building before I could come right back up to see him and get the verdict.  Sure enough, I got a call to come up to the office.  And sure enough, I had a gall stone.  A BIG gall stone.  And my nurse said, "Yep, he called it, didn't he."  To which I replied, "Yeah, although the funny thing is my mom called it right from the beginning at the ER."  My mom and I have both seen this before with my dad several years ago.  Same exact pain.  Same diagnosis. 

Well, my doctor was ready to admit me right away and get this taken care of.  But there was one small problem.  The hospital was full, and they couldn't get a bed for me.  If I was to go through with the surgery, it wasn't going to happen until 8:00pm that Thursday evening.  They had me in a room hooked up to another IV and getting more fluids and having more labs done.  This went on for a couple of hours before the surgeon came in and told me the situation.  I could wait until 8:00pm, but still not have a bed, and just stay overnight in an uncomfortable ER bed or something.  Or, I could go home and sleep in my own bed, and come back again bright and early at 6:30am Friday morning and have the surgery and go home later that same day.  So I went with option B.  And in hindsight, it was the right choice.

So on Friday March 10th at around 9:30am, I had my gallbladder removed.  And since then, I have been recovering.  Which has involved sitting on my butt, watching TV, getting up and walking around the house on occasion, regaining my appetite, and taking my happy pills.

The surgery itself was an interesting experience.  I'd never had surgery before.  There was a time when I was a baby that I needed anesthesia for some dental work, but this was my first real surgery.  It was strange.  The last thing I remember was being wheeled into the operating room.  They instructed me to stretch out my arms, and told me to start taking some deep breaths as they placed an oxygen mask over my face.  That's it.  I went completely out sometime after that.  Then my first memory of waking up was in the recovery room, feeling ridiculously groggy, and falling in an out of sleep, but trying to stay awake.  Feeling as though almost no time had past.  It's a weird feeling. 

Anyway, that's what I've been up to for the past week and a few days.  Stay with me, friends!  I'm looking forward to getting better and getting back to work.  And, frankly, eating some good food again.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LUTD - The Temptation

Hello friends!

Today I finished the latest piece for Light Up The Darkness.  I wanted to do something that was about temptation, and the nature of temptation.  One of the things that makes Darkness such a powerful force over humanity is its ability to entice us.  Darkness is not necessarily something that wants to scare us.  It wants to suck us in and manipulate us into thinking that what is inherently evil is good.  Among God's 10 Commandments, I actually think one of the hardest to keep is "Thou shalt not covet..."  The fundamental part of falling into temptation is our tendency to covet that which we desire, but don't have.  The greatest weapon that Darkness has is its ability to use our weaknesses against us.  But our greatest weapon against Darkness is the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and our God-given capacity to resist evil.  We stumble.  We break promises.  We give in to the thing that hurts us and others.  But we can rise up, and stare Darkness in the face, and say, "You have no power over me."

The Temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)
oil on linen
24x36 inches