The Intensive Studies Seminar (ISS) has become an annual regenerative force for me as an artist as well as the art I create!

Why do I travel so far away?  Why do I ship out so many materials?  Why stay away from my wonderful husband and home for such an extended period?  Because it is 10 consecutive days spent with diverse and amazing artists from all over the U.S., Canada, and even the United Kingdom… Friends from years past and new friends to be made!

Taos, NM Sunset

Taos, New Mexico, Late April Sunset

ISS is the unique  brainchild of a group of wonderful professional artists who were not only great friends but of like-mind about a philosophy of teaching addressing the gap they saw in artists’ training following the mastering of a medium or technique.   The focus of ISS and the information provided are to assist the artist in finding their own voice in conveying their intent.  WHY am I painting this?  What idea do I want to convey?  This is far more challenging to explore than you might think!  It is easy to fall back into simply painting a “pretty picture” and losing focus on WHY I am drawn to the subject matter or idea in the first place!

Artist Robyn Ryan at ISS 2014

My Workspace ~ ISS 2014

This was the 18th year of ISS!  It started in Texas (before my time!) and eventually moved to New Mexico.  I have been attending ISS in Taos, New Mexico, for the past 10 years (missed one for a trip to Tuscany…) and it has made a huge impact on me as an artist and my artwork!  The group of instructors  has narrowed (Miss you Alex Powers!) and now includes Fran Larson, Christopher Schink, Skip Lawrence, and Katherine Chang Liu.  These artists are very different in their personal painting styles and in many cases the specific feedback they provide.  However, their common purpose and theme focused on personal intent/voice make this a VERY special time each year to revisit why we do what we do!  Attending so many ISS sessions has also allowed me the honor of witnessing the evolution of the instructors’ work over time, these artists are incredible in their generosity and transparency, allowing us insight into the artistic journey we have ahead of ourselves.

The seminar is continually refined by our four fearless leaders and consists of time to paint, private critiques, a day of working with each of the four instructors, daily programs on themes including classic and contemporary art, artists, art principals, art movements (I’ve gained so much in art appreciation and creation through these programs!)  Even if a program is similar to one in previous years, I am in a different place in my artistic journey each year and am either reminded of something I forgot or am able to capitalize on something that I missed in the past.

The camaraderie of the instructors and the participants is  unique and creates a very special environment that I crave each year.  My deposit is already in for ISS 2015! I’m not sure how much longer this unique seminar will  be offered so I want to be sure I am there to soak up every drop of inspiration and information!

Artist Robyn Ryan Heron Acrylic Layers Painting

“Heron III” 18″ x 18″ Acrylic Layers on Paper

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