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   The San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild

The San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild

Documents and Pictures
at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, Poway, California

February 1- February 28, 2017



3rd  Place Award of Excellence Winner:  Donald K. Ryan

Two Left Feet, painting

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 Two Left Feet

Composition is primary in my paintings. I hope I have achieved visual equipoise in Two Left Feet that transcends the grotesqueness of the subject matter.

Good pictures have been created for many different reasons:  instruction, edification, decoration, titillation.  My aim has been to create paintings that afford visual pleasure, mainly through the achievement of visual equipoise.  Pierre Bonnard felt that the balance of pictorial elements was the key to the creation of beauty in his paintings:

“One is not always transported by what one sees, but a painter must be able to      

 discern some agreeable connection between one thing and another and to find a 

place for it in his paintings.  

 We can abstract beauty out of anything.”

Juror of Award Winners:  Mark-Elliott Lugo

Mark is a member of the Artists Guild board of directors.  He is a former art critic for the Union-Tribune Publishing Company, San Diego and San Diego Magazine, San Diego.  Before his retirement, he was the Curator and Visual Arts Program Coordinator for the San Diego Library for many years.  In 2015, he was also the curator for the Artists Guild’s Centennial Exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art:  100 Artists, 100 Years: The San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild, 1915-2015.

Juror’s Notes:

I liked the influence of primitive/outsider/Expressionist art. The monochromatic, blue palette is intriguing; nice, loose brushwork; interesting imagery; good composition and use of negative space.

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Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 122107
San Diego, CA 92112-2107

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