Entries by Michael Ryan

Paula Rego ‘Secrets and Stories’

Culture on Dutch TV: ‘Close Up’   The cashier at my local organic supermarket noticed my paint-splattered pants and remarked: ‘Ben jij een beoefenaar van de schone kunsten?’ (Are you a practitioner of the visual arts?). ‘Well, lets just say I’ve never fully matured and still spend my days playing with colors.’ I answered. This […]


Mitchell Johnson My plan today was to continue my blog about my recent vacation in France. But as so often happens, life made other plans… A follower of mine and an artist I follow on Instagram, Rob Larson ( rob_larson_artist  ) posted a daily series of images recently, with this text underneath: ‘I’m looking at..’. […]

Our French Adventure (Part two)

Autun Just an hour west of Beaune lies the city of Autun. Founded during the reign of the first Roman emperor Augustus, the town still bears witness to its past in the form of walls, gates and a Roman theater. Lili and I wanted to share the old center of Autun with our travel companions, […]

Our French Adventure

Paris Paris elevators are small. For two Americans visiting from San Francisco they appear ridiculously small. Three people with carry-on luggage is often the max. But we managed to get the bags upstairs to my room and headed out for a quick breakfast before departing with the train later that morning for Dijon. It was […]

A Visit to Copenhagen

Elke Sommer Copenhagen. Blue. Definitely blue, but mellowed, softened. Light, in feeling and in atmosphere. Rough, but not too rough, not like ‘Rotterdam’ (ROT! DAMN! A Dutch port, violent, dangerous, dock workers) and of course Elke Sommer,  a sexy blonde actress from my teens, whom I always associated with Copenhagen (actually she’s German). Well, so […]

Deconstructing a painting (part four)

         Go with the flow   When I went back to work the next day the movement felt choppy. It didn’t have the calligraphic flow across the surface I wanted. Where was the kink in the cable? It seemed the three ‘figures’ in the middle weren’t doing their job, they weren’t moving the eye properly […]

Deconstructing a painting (part three)

Don’t paint the photo   ‘Don’t paint the photo, PAINT THE REASON WHY YOU TOOK THE PHOTO’   This sentence is written down and posted on the wall of my back studio (my ‘idea factory’) where I produce the studies and play with the ideas that eventually lead to a painting.   The Sri Lankan […]

Deconstructing a painting (part 2)

  Cell phones? Returning home to Amsterdam, I printed a number of photos and together with the drawings I’d made in Sri Lanka,  I set myself up in my back studio to begin working on composition in preparation for my first painting. As I studied and drew I became aware of a remarkable ambience in […]

Deconstructing a painting

How does an artist (myself) know a painting is finished? How do I begin a painting? What are the decisions made during the process? In an ongoing series the reader will journey with me during the creative process. From inspiration, through deliberation, consternation, hesitation, a lot of perspiration and finally culmination. The painting above entitled […]