Everyone searches to find some sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and recognition in their own life. What that looks like is different for each person. For some it’s the development of personal relationships, building a family, organizing events, or construction.
I’m Donald Ryker, and I find true satisfaction in creating, in particular, I love painting. Using a hard hat with a brush attached I have discovered a way to be able to independently create a piece of art that I can share with other people so they too can enjoy nature, color, shape and texture. I am attracted to powerful, engaging natural images, vibrant colors, texture, light and shadow, and love creating an image using layers. I have extensively studied color and for each painting I blend primary pigments with heavy medium to create the color palette that will evoke the feelings and connection I want the viewer to see in my work.
My influences are Franz Mark with his freedom from traditional colors, Monet with his layers and textures, and Van Gough’s clear pigments and vibrant hues. My subjects are most often natural things – birds, animals, fish and peaceful landscapes.
Having Cerebral Palsy and painting with my head has influenced my style. In contrast to the meticulous detail and precision of realism, or photography, I have embraced loose bold brush strokes and use heavy medium to create a bold, fluid expressionist style that includes my unique use of glaze and layering. I want to create vibrant unforgettable artwork that your eye will return to again and again seeing new details each time.
After many years of painting, I have gained keen collectors who appreciate my unique style that is recognizable as I explore a variety of natural subjects.
Early Life and Disability
I acquired Cerebral Palsy when I didn’t have enough oxygen at birth. I’ve overcome physical hurdles, social prejudice, and academic bias until today I live an independent life, having earned a college degree, and established myself as a professional artist. This video is a glimpse into my early life.
I can’t work with a vertical canvas so I use a drafting table and have my painting assistant rotate the canvas as needed to be able to reach all parts of it. Some people can’t believe I can paint with my canvas sideways or upside down. I guess it just comes naturally to me. I used to watch TV lying on my side on the ground so I developed my sideways vision. Who knew it would be so valuable in my career.
Below is a video showing the process I have developed.
I was influenced by Franz Mark’s freedom from traditional colors, Monet’s layers and texture, and Van Gough’s clear pigments. I enjoy painting natural things – birds, animals, fish and peaceful landscapes.
My work is an expressionist reflection of my unique physical movements and joyful approach to life. It is attractive to those who value creativity, the unexpected, and thinking outside the box. Collectors tell me my work brings joy and inspiration to their space.
- 2016 “Innovation Recognition Award” SARC, San Jose, CA
Xanadu Gallery Pinetop AZ
ORIGINAL ART COLLECTORS
- Allison Mendoza – 2
- Larry Day – 5 pieces
- Reza Pahlavan – 1 piece
- Nancy Axtell – 2 piece
- Vince Castillo – 1 piece
- Alexandra Meijer – 1 piece
- Melanie Harrell – 1 piece
- Barrett Bowers – 2 pieces
- Sharon Delisle – 1 piece
- Joey Furtado and Brooks Bengyel – 3 pieces
- Lisa and Jim Ryker – 6
- Jamie and Joshua Bossuat – 2 pieces
- Chris Blair – 1 piece
- Joe H. – 1 piece
- Mary Caudill – 1 piece
- Carol Sue and Doug Figiera – 1 piece
- 2018 “LIVING WITH COLOR EXHBITION” YWCA, Berkeley, CA
- 2018 “Artist’s Workshop”, Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose, CA
- 2016 “BELIEVE AND CREATE”, Ameriprise Financial, San Jose, CA
- 2016 “THE ART OF DONALD RYKER”, Service Above Self Awards, San Jose, CA
- 2015 “DONALD RYKER”, Carmen Castellano Fine Art Gallery, San Jose, CA
- 2015 “PAWS FOR PURPLE HEARTS”, Gallery 85, Santa Clara, CA
- 2015 “Live Painting Demonstration”, Gallery 85, Santa Clara, CA
- 2019 “Pebble Beach Benefit Auction”, Pebble Beach, CA
- 2017 “ARSTABLED EXHBITION”, Triton Museum of Fine Art, Santa Clara, CA
- 2015 “ART DOGS”, Carmen Castellano Fine Art Gallery, San Jose, CA
- 2015 “ECLECTIC PERSPECTIVES”, Carmen Castellano Fine Art Gallery, San Jose, CA
- 2014 “HEROES”, Towson Art Collective, Ellene Christiansen Arts Center, Towson, MD
- 2018 “Painting with his head, San Jose artist creates a career and inspiration”, Lisa M. Krieger, San Jose Mercury News Feb 4, 2018
- 2016 “Donald Ryker, Artist”, NBC Bay Area Proud with Garvin Thomas
Commission A Painting
Get in touch about exhibiting my work or commissioning a piece,