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   The San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild

The San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild
2017 Membership Exhibition
Gallery 21, Spanish Village, Balboa Park
October 25 through November 6, 2017

Congratulations to our 2nd Place Award of Excellence Winner:  Donald K. Ryan

Don was awarded second place in the Guild’s 2017 Membership Exhibition for his oil painting Hindsight.

About Don:

I earned an honest living and became a painter at the same time. I made my living as a Marine Corps Infantry Officer and subsequently as a Medical Doctor. This was probably a better way to support my painting than trying to do and teach art as is a common practice. It certainly paid better than trying to sell it. I also raised a family. Without neglecting any of those responsibilities, I made my life as a painter.  Was there enough time to paint seriously? I found time.  

I sought out painters whose works I admired and worked with them as mentors.  These included art school teachers and working professionals.  I was able to learn from my own select faculty.  And then there were/are those greatest of art, schools, the museums and galleries.  I continue to learn. 

I have worked at it for forty-some years and produced hundreds of paintings/drawings.  Only in the last 15 years did I become interested in exhibiting. In that time I have been selected for over 30 local, regional, national, and international shows. Of those I would note the selection of Luna for the Berkeley Art Center 20th Annual National Exhibition as unique. It was one of 50 paintings selected from over 3000 submissions.


I want my paintings to be looked at, not thought about. I want to create a visual experience.  I want the arrangement of the plastic elements, form, value, colors, composition, to evoke in the viewer an experience that can’t be reduced to thought or words.

I work in a conversational manner. As I paint, each addition (or subtraction) to the canvas requires a reassessment of how to proceed in direct response to the new visual field. Richard Diebenkorn referred to this manner of working when he said:

“... a premeditated scheme is out of the question... I can never accomplish what I want, only what I would have wanted had I thought of it beforehand.”

I can’t say it any better than that.

About Hindsight

I don’t paint story-telling pictures but I can’t help it if my painting tells a story.

Hindsight certainly suggests a story but I don’t know what that story is. I was driven by the composition, the placement and attitude of the figures I saw in a newspaper photo. I don’t remember what was said about the situation, young women in uniforms looking in various directions. The cinder block background suggests an institutional setting. There can be lots of stories, but I am pleased with how the painting looks.

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San Diego, CA 92112-2107

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