The Latest News

June Sculpture Workshop was a Blast!

We sure had a super time at the Virginia Equine Artists Association (VEAA) sculpture workshop last weekend!  Thanks Debby Thomas for hosting us in your studio!  I had four students which was perfect for the private studio setting.

We started with discussing the entire process from armature to casting in bronze (or Resin).  The remaining 11 hours of the workshop we sculpted!

Sculpture Armature Demonstration

Sculpture Armature Demonstration

Not everyone who takes my workshop plans to  have molds made and cast what they work on, although I’m thrilled to say some do!

For some, simply expanding beyond the two dimensions of drawing and painting on a flat surface and getting to know their subject much more completely is the motivation.  Others have used their sculptures as models for their drawing and painting.  Still others are just curious about the process.

Clay Contour Demonstration

Clay Contour Demonstration

I really enjoy making the process clear and attainable.  Armature building, initial clay “contour” maps, packing clay, stepping back and assessing from multiple angles, developing a discerning eye to mold what is there vs. what we “think” is there… all basic principles we explore.

Building Form Demonstration

Day 1 Demo

I think all participants were pleased with what they produced.  BJ couldn’t join us the 2nd day but her sculpture after only day one was in fine shape!  (Looking forward to our make up session!)

VEAA June 2013 Sculpture Class

June 2013 VEAA Sculpture Class (Cheryl, Debby, and Donna)

I’m very proud of these ladies and what they accomplished over the two days.  From Left to Right are Cheryl Ernest, Debby Thomas, and Donna Doyle.  BJ Clark is not pictured but her sculpture from day 1 is (2nd from left)

VEAA Sculpture Workshop Instructor

Proud Instructor!

I have two more VEAA Workshops scheduled this summer, contact me if you are interested!

20 July 2013 VEAA Watercolor Workshop, $85, 9:30-4:30 at The Backdoor Gallery, Fredericksburg, VA

10 & 11 August 2013 VEAA Sculpture Workshop, $135 bust/$150 full horse, 9:30-4:30 both days at The Backdoor Gallery, Fredericksburg, VA


New Home for “Cortona Overlook”

While out in Taos, New Mexico this year for my annual trek to the Intensive Studies Seminar, I received the wonderful news from Libertytown Arts Workshop that my painting, “Cortona Overlook” had found a new home with a proud new owner!  Congratulations!

Park overlooking Tuscan Plains

“Cortona Overlook”  11″ x 15″  Watercolor

This painting is from my “Italian Impressions” body of work inspired by my trip to Cortona Italy in 2009.


My friend, photographer Audrey Bruno, floored me about a month ago when I learned she had made the decision to leave her full-time day job here in Fredericksburg, VA and pursue her fine arts degree at Rochester Institute of Technology School of Design.  Audrey-close-up-webWhat a gutsy decision to make such a major life change and pursue her dream!

Audrey and I are about the same age, and learned a couple of years ago after we met as new members of Art First Gallery, in Fredericksburg, VA, that we both had gone to Radford University, and I just learned that it was probably at the same time!  It is a small world!

What an inspiration she is to me, I will miss her greatly but am SO very proud of her.  We will have to see what great things lay ahead for her as she follows this new path.  (Thanks to Cathy Herndon for a great photo of Audrey!)

She will be exhibiting her work with two other Fredericksburg, VA photographer friends of mine, Fritzi Newton and Adam Desio at Bistro Bethem, 309 William Street, Fredericksburg, Virginia, during the months of June and July.


“Nuthatch I” Acrylic Layers Accepted into VMRC National Exhibit & SOLD!

Robyn Ryan’s Acrylic Layers painting “Nuthatch I” from her “Fleeting Glimpses” series has been accepted into the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC) 10th National Annual Juried Multimedia Art Exhibition, in Harrisonburg, VA.  “Nuthatch I” was one of 103 accepted entries out of 457 entries submitted by 170 artists representing 29 states.  The Jurors were Pat Cook, Holly Morrison, and Daniel J. Scogna.

Nuthatch on side of tree

“Nuthatch I”  16″ x 16″  Acrylic Layers

The exhibit is on display at the Parks Gables Gallery, 1491 Virginia Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA.  Exhibit open  10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from 26 May – 30 June.  (

I am thrilled to share that I was just notified that the VMRC has purchased this painting for their permanent collection and is interested in a companion piece!

See other works from Robyn’s “Fleeting Glimpses” series at her website

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Two “Equine Layers” Paintings Juried into the FCCA National “Lines & Edges” Exhibit

I am so pleased to have two of my “Equine Layers” paintings accepted into the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts (FCCA) May 2013 “Lines & Edges” National Juried Exhibition by Juror Allison Long Hardy.

Three layers acrylic on plexi of horses

These paintings are three dimensional in that they are comprised of multiple layers of plexiglas painted with acrylics.

The layers are separated by spacers providing visual distance,  and changing what is visible depending on the viewer’s position.

My “Equine Layers” pieces all vary scale and form of the horse, in most of these plexiglas pieces the variation is between line and shapes.

This is a variation of my current focus on  “physical layers”.  I am also working with layers of acrylic gel and paint to explore the effects I can achieve.

Horse in acrylic on plexiglas

The painting above is titled “Equine Layers VIII”  and consists of three 5″ x 5″  layers;  the bottom being the mottled background, the middle being a linear jumping horse, and the third being the shape of a horse head.

The second painting is titled “Equine Layers X” and consists of two 7″ x 5″ layers; the bottom being painted on both sides (one the textured background the other the shape of the horses body), and the top the rust colored gestural line.

If you are in Fredericksburg, VA during the month of May 2013, stop by the FCCA and visit this wonderful show!

Another Fabulous Intensive Studies Seminar in Taos!

I believe this was my eighth year attending the Intensive Studies Seminar in Taos, New Mexico.   My Fredericksburg, VA studio-mate (at the time) and her daughter had attended and shared the flyer with me several years ago.  Not sure what it was that motivated me to travel so far from home for two weeks to this art workshop the first time but it has become an annual “pilgrimage” for me!  (Except the year Tuscany won out…  an understandable trade-off don’t you think?)

Why do I go?   That is the topic of today’s post.

Let’s start with location, location, location!

Taos Mountain


Taos, New Mexico is located about 2.5 hours north of Albuquerque.  The trip from Albuquerque takes you first through Santa Fe (Hmmmm, do you think I’ve ever been side-tracked their?  ; )  ), Sunset over high desert, Taos, NMthen up through amazing scenery along the Rio Grande river until you emerge over the vista of the gorge and Wheeler Peak.

This high desert/mountain location is truly spectacular with its incredible scenery.

On top of that, the history, the artistic community, and the easy going nature of the town make this a cool destination.  What  a wonderful environment to paint in.

I have brought Taos home with me through several acquisitions over the years of artwork, jewelry, and textiles.  They help to remind me of the impact this place has had on me throughout the rest of the year.

Another reason I keep going back is the unique format of the workshop and the amazing instructors.  This is not a workshop about learning to paint like the instructors or to learn a new technique.  The instructors are very different artists but are good friends with a common philosophy for the workshop.  This workshop is focused on  assisting the artists in honing their artistic intentions and utilizing the techniques and tools at their disposal to achieve that intent.  The instructors are Skip Lawrence, Fran Larson, Christopher Schink, and Katherine Chang Liu.  (Until this year Alex Powers was also one of our instructors, we hope he can come back next year… we missed him!)

The focused immersion time to focus on developing mISS Art Workshop workspacey art and learning as much as possible from the critiques, discussions, and programs has “leap-frogged” me forward every year I’ve attended.  My naive biases continue to be shed and I’ve gained a huge appreciation for artwork I previously would not have been interested in.

The camaraderie of the workshop instructors and participants make this an enjoyable (albeit challenging) annual journey, overcoming the recurring myth of thinking I am the only one facing the insecurities and challenges of making and sharing art.  In addition, the long-lasting friendships I’ve developed have made this workshop a priority during my artistic year in order to nurture those relationships.  I have met so many wonderful artists through ISS, all with the similar intent of finding and maturing their artistic voice.  We all learn so much from each other!

I have a lot more to share from what I glean from ISS so keep your eye out for future posts!

 Until next year Taos!

Sunset over high desert, Taos, NM

Honorable Mention ~ FCCA April Regional Juried Exhibition

I was so pleased to have two pieces from my “Fleeting Glimpses” series accepted into the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts (FCCA) April 2013 Regional Juried Exhibition.  (Juror:  Trudy C. Van Dyke)

Then to put the icing on the cake, “Lady Slipper” was awarded an Honorable Mention Award.

Acrylic painting of Lady Slipper by artist Robyn Ryan
Lady Slipper”  16″ x 12″  Acrylic Layers on Panel


The second painting accepted into the exhibit was “Dove Trio”.

Acrylic painting of three doves on branch by artist Robyn Ryan
“Dove Trio”  16″ x 20″  Acrylic Layers on Panel

The exhibit can be previewed online at the FCCA website.

1-2 June 2013 Sculpture Workshop

Announcing the 3rd VEAA Hosted

Robyn Ryan Sculpture Workshop,  1-2 June 2013

Robyn Ryan Teaching Sculpture Workshop

Link to Workshop Flyer ~ Sculpture Workshop with Robyn Ryan June2013

Are you ready to bend some wire and push some clay? Don’t let the idea of three dimensions intimidate you… This will be a very practical and down to earth workshop focused on providing you clear, common-sense approaches to achieving your vision in clay and eventually bronze. No question there is a lot to it, but with confidence in the basics, your creativity can flourish.

9:30 – 4:30 Saturday and Sunday, Manakin Sabot, VA

Since this is a VEAA sponsored event, VEAA members have an exclusive registration period through 15 April.  This location has limited space so spots will fill quickly.

Waiting List available, any unfilled spots as of 15 April will be offered to folks on waiting list.

Contact Robyn to register / be placed on waiting list

As of 15 March ~ 4 spots still available

See other 2013 workshops with Robyn.

You Scratch My Back…

I am constantly drawn to anthropomorphic observations of animals and am struck by the authentic reminders they can provide us if we let them.  They are typically brutally honest and don’t fall prey to society’s politically correct “dances” and “masks”.  If they are happy with you (or each other) you know it… and when they aren’t!

Two Horses scratching backs

This watercolor painting is of two of my best friends, mother and daughter, both who have seen me through many many years of pleasure and partnership.  One (the one facing you) is in her 30’s and is the “grand dame” of the herd… the other is in her early 20’s and is now “Head Mare” , a role she inherited from the “grand dame” a few years back.  These candid moments of mutual comfort and affection can’t help but bring a smile to your face.  I’ve sometimes found myself between them as a third in the chain during one of these “scratch-fests”!

This  is an example of painting what you love simply and directly achieving beautiful results!

ROBYN RYAN ART Website Debut!

Robyn Ryan Artist Studio

I finally did it! I “bit the bullet”, “took the reins” and went for IT!  What is IT?  Getting serious about representing myself as an artist and my art online with some creativity and pizazz!  I invested in kicking off my new website,, and with it this Blog.

So what? Well this has been a long time coming…

I have been using “portfolio” websites for my Artist Web “presence” for years, they provide a wonderful capability and have served me well.  Each had its benefits but all had limitations and none had everything I was hoping for.  So, one  goal has been to invest in a new website customized for me and my artistic web presence needs and desires!

What “needs and desires” are these?  Well, for one, I need to establish a distinctive and consistent look and feel for all of my public relations materials, both print and virtual.  Another is focusing the website on the ARTWORK vs. all the bells and whistles of other information available.  Flexibility in providing access to a variety of my art activity information is a third objective.   The icing on the cake is an integrated tool for me to manage my artist “web presence” from!

How about an introductory tour?

First stop is the Home page which sets the stage with my new color theme, a scrolling banner of artwork and related images, a welcome message, and neat features such as the shortcut menu to some key artwork groups, my e-mail newsletter sign up, and featured artwork/blog highlights!

Next, is the About Robyn page which tells my story as an artist to date (not your typical boring artist statement!) and provides access to my art biography, exhibitions, media,  links, workshops/classes, down-loadable files and such.

Now for the highlight of the tour!  The Artwork page takes you to my most recent body of artwork.  At the time of this website launch this is my “Fleeting Glimpses” series which focuses on those transient moments we often overlook in appreciating the wildlife and natural wonders occurring around us.  Over time, the body of work featured on my Recent Artwork page will be updated with my newest work.

Another awesome feature on all of my Artwork pages is the tailored sidebar menu for you to select the category of artwork you want to see; I’ve organized the categories by body of work, by medium, and by subject matter.   Why did I do this?  To give YOU the flexibility to see artwork you are most interested in.  I hope you will get curious and click through them all!

Selecting an artwork category brings up all associated artwork, e.g., if you select “Italian Impressions” you will be presented with my recent paintings inspired by my trip to Italy.  You then can select a piece of artwork to see an enlarged view or you can select the artwork title to see the individual artwork’s page with amplifying information.

My biggest challenge has been selecting my best work to feature on this site!  You won’t find everything I’ve done here but I’m confident you will enjoy what I have selected to represent me and the state of my art today.

Next, the News Page brings you to this blog where I will post regularly about my perspectives on “Celebrating Life Through Art” exploring my own artwork, art related processes and activities, as well featuring other artists and people who epitomize this philosophy.  I hope you will check back regularly and sign up to receive regular updates!

Last but not least, the Contact Robyn page provides ways to reach me and an email template if you want to contact me without leaving the site.

My eternal thanks to my friend Adam DeSio at Desio Studios for all of his hard work and support to bring to life!  I hope you will visit often and let me know what you think!