Donald Ryker


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.

Have a look at my gallery, or if get the opportunity, you can view original art at Xanadu Gallery – Pinetop Arizona.

Artist Standing in Snow Fine Art Block Print with Artist Donald Ryker


  • 2016 “Innovation Recognition Award” SARC, San Jose, CA

Xanadu Gallery Pinetop AZ


  • 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 “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

Donald Ryker is able to make suggestions with shape, color, and light that challenge you to interpret and feel. Ryker developed the use of Impasto Glaze to create translucent layers of color that cause your eye search out unique details. His free flowing brushstrokes give his work energy, vibrance, and vitality.

Donald Ryker's work and unique style has gained him a loyal following of collectors who clearly love the fluid, bold lines that fill any space with emotive colour.

The fact that he achieves so much texture, layering and vibrancy painting with his head and a brush on a hard-hat just makes it all even more astounding and inspirational.

Commission A Painting

Get in touch about exhibiting my work or commissioning a piece,

GDPR and Privacy Policy

European Union GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)

The EU GDPR is designed to help all of us have more control over our personal data, and how is it used.

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Data subjects, being all visitors and users of any website who are members of the European Union, and therefore who submit personal data. is the data processor and data controller of this site. You can find out more about this law here.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy sets out how I, Donald Ryker use and protect any information that you give when you use this website.

I am committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should I ask you to provide certain information from which you can be identified when using this website, you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

If I change this policy I will update this page. You should check from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from 22 August 2012.

What I collect

I may collect the following information:

  • your name
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I require this information to provide you with a better service and in particular for the following reasons:

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I am committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, I have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information I collect online.

How I use cookies

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Links to other websites

My website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that I do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, I cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Controlling your personal information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways. If you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing or emailing me.

I will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless I have your permission or are required by law to do so. I may use your personal information to send you promotional information about third parties which I think you may find interesting if you tell us that you wish this to happen.

You may request details of personal information which I hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. 

If you believe that any information I are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please email us as soon as possible.  I will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.

Google Analytics

User and Event Data Retention

User-level and event-level data associated with Google Analytics cookies is retained for 14 months and then automatically deleted.

IP Anonymization

I have implemented IP Anonymization, simply put, the last three digits of your IP address are set to zeros in memory shortly after being sent to the Analytics Collection Network. The full IP address is never retained, or written to disk.


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