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27 March 2017

Red Collection (Golden Ratio), larger painting (+ David Wiesner's "Phone Home")


Red Collection (Golden Ratio), 2017, oil on panel, 8 x 10 inches
Available
Contact me at abbeyryan@gmail.com for purchase information

This painting (of a cigar, copper tack, cardinal feather, matches, and Vasari's alizarin crimson) is the second in my Golden Ratio series; in 2014 I exhibited my Blue Collection (Golden Ratio), 6 x 7 inches, at the Peto Museum. These tromp l'oeil paintings relate to a series of non-objective ink paintings that I've been working on since 2012 that utilize the structure of the golden ratio. I've been considering the golden ratio as not just a structure (as it is in this painting), but as subject matter in my still life and tromp l'oeil oil paintings.

I would like to recommend a fantastic blog by Caldecott-winning illustrator/author David Wiesner. One entry, entitled "Phone Home," begins like this:

"In 1982, the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was released. History was made.
In 1984, my agent, Dilys Evans, got a phone call from representatives of Steven Spielberg. They were looking for a children’s book illustrator to work on a top-secret project with Mr. Spielberg. They wouldn’t actually say what the subject of the project was, but there were enough hints that Dilys realized it had to do with E.T.
Dilys knew this was perfect for me – I knew film, I knew sci-fi, I knew fantasy, and I knew children’s books. I spent several days putting together a presentation of my work to send to LA...."

To see lots of images and keep reading: [http://www.davidwiesner.com/work/phone-home/]

Ending soon at 3:30pm EST Monday, March 27:
Lemon with Leaves, Flower, and Bud

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Best,

22 March 2017

Lemon with Leaves, Flower, and Bud (+ Fantin-Latour)


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Fantin-Latour is a great painter whose work I often study at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. À Fleur de Peau was a recent exhibition of his work at Musée du Luxembourg in Paris; the show is no longer on view, but, if you're interested, the exhibition catalog can be found at this link.

This is another lemon generously given to me by my in-laws in Arizona. If you enjoy this painting, you may also like to see Lemon with Three Leaves (Separation of Powers) or a bunch of my paintings of lemons.

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Best,

02 March 2017

Golden Series: Apple, Cranberries, and Humboldt Fog ( + Lax at AstroPoets)



This is the 13th painting in my Golden Series. Also, if you've been following along my ongoing Robert Lax project "the light, the shade" and my Johnston Fellowship work involving Lax -- Lax was included in a twitter post by Astro Poets (@poetastrologers).

If you enjoy this painting, I invite you to see all of the paintings from my Golden series, or a bunch of my paintings with apples or fruit with a leaf or leaves or cranberries or five previous paintings with Humboldt Fog cheese in them.

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Best,

24 February 2017

Spring Onions (larger painting) (+ my parents' new children's book)


Spring Onions, 8 x 10 inches, oil on linen on panel
Available - framed
Contact me at abbeyryan@gmail.com for purchase information

I have mentioned in the past that Thomas Merton is my (middle) namesake. If you're interested, I am happy to share my parents' forthcoming book publication. They collaborated to create The ABCs of Thomas Merton: A Monk at the Heart of the World, which is due out in May 2017 (Paraclete Press). You can follow along a bit at their wonderful "ABC's of Thomas Merton" blog here. The book is for young readers (age 5-9), parents, grandparents, teachers... anyone who would enjoy learning about the major events in Thomas Merton’s life and the choices he made along the way to become the world’s most famous monk and hermit. I don't say it often enough -- but I'm very fortunate to have such talented, passionate, and inspiring parents. My mom, Elizabeth Ryan (the illustrator) is a painter with a degree from the Tyler School of Art. For over thirty years she has taught painting and shown her work in galleries throughout New Jersey. My dad, Gregory Ryan, is a founding member of the International Thomas Merton Society. He has published articles and book reviews in a number of Thomas Merton journals, and was an elementary school teacher for over forty years.

If you enjoy this painting, you may also like to see a few smaller Spring Onions paintings.

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Best,

23 February 2017

Two Hand-picked Peaches with Leaves (larger painting)


Two Hand-picked Peaches with Leaves, 10 x 8 inches, oil on linen on panel
Available - framed or unframed
Contact me at abbeyryan@gmail.com for purchase information

If you're interested, Philadelphia-artists Carole Loeffler and Maryann Worrell's current two-person exhibition is well worth a visit. Interconnecting Elements is an exhibition of new sculpture and installation work by Carole Loeffler and Maryann Worrell on view at the Boston Street Gallery in Philadelphia through mid-March 2017. You can see some of the work and find out more details here and here.

If you enjoy this painting, you may also like to see another larger Two Peaches painting, or a bunch of my paintings of peaches.

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Best,

22 February 2017

Bosc Pear


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If you're interested, Philadelphia-artist Matthew Borgen's current solo exhibition is worth a visit. Cities in the Sky is an exhibition of new digital prints by Matthew Borgen on view at the Barbara Crawford Gallery on the campus of the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy through April 2017. "The works in this exhibition utilize visual language and common metaphors from comics, sequential art, and science fiction to discuss issues surrounding the notion of cultural bubbles." You can see some of his work and find out more details here.

If you enjoy this painting, you may also like to see peach, bleu cheese, bosc pear, and five blackberries (the light, the shade) or a bunch of my paintings of all kinds of pears and just bosc pears.

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Best,

17 February 2017

Still Life with Stacked Stones (Cairn) (larger painting)


Still Life with Stacked Stones (Cairn) (present moment)
oil on panel, 10x8 inches, 2017
Contact me at abbeyryan@gmail.com for purchase information

A cairn is a human-made pile (or stack) of stones, and the word cairn comes from middle Gaelic. Since prehistory, they have been built and used as burial monuments. In modern times, cairns are also built as landmarks, for ceremonial purposes, and to mark trails, among other purposes.

If you enjoy this painting, you may also like to see other paintings from my "present moment" series, or my "magic is still possible" series, my golden series, or a bunch of my trompe l'oeil paintings.

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Best,

15 February 2017

South Korean Bowl with Asian Pears (larger painting)


South Korean Bowl with Asian Pears
​approx. 9x​12", oil on linen on ​3/8" thick ​panel, 2017
Email abbeyryan@gmail.com for purchase information

Auction ending soon at 6 PM EST:
Hand-picked Red and Green Apple with a Light Background, 5x5"

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Best,

14 February 2017

Lemon with Leaf (present moment) (+ "How to Love")


Lemon with Leaf (present moment), oil on linen on panel, 7 x 6 in.
Contact abbeyryan@gmail.com for purchase information

Today's painting is part of my "present moment" series. If you are interested, How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh is worth reading. Maria Popova writes about it well; here is an excerpt:

"At the heart of Nhat Hanh's teachings is the idea that 'understanding is love's other name' — that to love another means to fully understand his or her suffering. ('Suffering' sounds rather dramatic, but in Buddhism it refers to any source of profound dissatisfaction — be it physical or psychoemotional or spiritual.) Understanding, after all, is what everybody needs — but even if we grasp this on a theoretical level, we habitually get too caught in the smallness of our fixations to be able to offer such expansive understanding. He illustrates this mismatch of scales with an apt metaphor:

'If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.' [Keep reading]

If you enjoy this painting, you may also like to see Lemon with Three Leaves (Separation of Powers) or a bunch of my paintings of lemons.

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Best,

13 February 2017

Robin's Egg (+ Lax and Pax)


Robin's Egg (present moment), oil on linen on panel, 7x6", 2017
Email abbeyryan@gmail.com for purchase information
"I may be wrong about Pax, but keep feeling that through good poems and pictures, peace can travel." -Robert Lax to Thomas Merton, 1953 
"Lax's politics, like Thomas Merton's, were the politics of peace, this person wrote. And he was right. Pursuing peace through whatever means, even a fragile newsprint broadsheet that few people read, is a political act." -Michael McGregor, 2016
In thinking about some of my series paintings (the light the shade, Separation of Powers, literally vs. seriously, Two Left, yin/yang, present moment), below is an excerpt from author Michael McGregor's newsletter about poet Robert Lax (read about my fellowship work on Lax here). Everyone can join the newsletter at robertlax.com.

"The Politics of Art and Peace" by Michael McGregor
The Robert Lax Newsletter -- December 2016

"I may be wrong about Pax, but keep feeling that through good poems and pictures, peace can travel."
-Robert Lax to Thomas Merton, 1953

The image to the right is from the third issue of Robert Lax's broadsheet Pax, which he published sporadically between 1956 and 1962, adding three new issues in 1985. I've been thinking about Pax in the wake of the American election because Lax's idea in publishing it was to spread peace by sharing the work of writers and artists. The work didn't have to be about peace per se; the simple act of making art, Lax thought, is a peaceful -- and therefore peacemaking -- activity.

I don't know any more than anyone else what the coming months and years will bring, but I've seen the agitation and rancor the election has fostered already. I've seen people say on Facebook and elsewhere that everyone should take to the streets or get involved in politics. A former writing student of mine said over tea the other day that she was unsure about writing in these times, worried that writing an essay about something other than current issues might be trivial. I'm pretty sure I know what Lax would have told her: that we need people thinking deeply and imaginatively about life right now; that we need those people to put their observations and intuitions into words and images; that we need books with those words and images in our hands and on our shelves and in our beds at night when we're prone to worrying about where our world is heading.

When I was on my reading tour for Pure Act, an audience member asked me if Lax was political at all. I said no. But two or three days later, someone who had been at the reading suggested (gently) that I was wrong. Lax's politics, like Thomas Merton's, were the politics of peace, this person wrote. And he was right. Pursuing peace through whatever means, even a fragile newsprint broadsheet that few people read, is a political act.

“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times.” -Thomas Merton

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” -Thomas Merton

(You'll find information on all Pax issues, including a list of the poets and poems in each one, here.)

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Best,

12 February 2017

Hand-picked Red and Green Apple with a Light Background



The Southern Poverty Law Center's article Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry is worth a read, and it's organized in a very helpful way.

With this painting, I am thinking about the "white" background in the John Johnston Still Life from 1810 that I studied in 2015 at the "Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life" exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. If you're interested, I found a poor quality image of Johnston's still life online here.

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Best,