Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan

Artist’s Statement

"People are drawn into that rich, buttery paint, but it’s a lot harder to do than people think. It can very easily get out of control and turn into a big mess. Just learning the subtleties, the way your wrist might move or semi-mix the paint on the palette before it gets to the canvas … you are learning all the time … little intricacies that become part of your massive store over 30 years of painting that you can draw from. On a good day, it comes out and makes something really special. It’s a tightrope walk, and there are so many chances to fall off as you’re doing it.

The hardest part for all painters is to keep that process steady when it starts to go bad – your emotions slide with it when it’s going bad. I work really hard to not let that happen – to bring it back, stop for a minute. I get a general idea for an image in my head. Then once the sketch is done, you have a framework where you can let loose a little bit. When you are working with expensive linen and paint, you want to do your research beforehand. But that’s the crazy gamble – the amount of paint that I waste that is just wiped off on rags is amazing, but you have to stop worrying about that. It’s just collateral damage.

It’s all an amazing balance between raw attack and a measured approach. It’s about chaos and order somehow coming together."

(from the Artist Profile interview)


Born in New Zealand, Ryan came to Australia at the age of 8 and spent his formative years in Wollongong NSW.


Edward Cella Art and Architecture at FOG Design+Art 2019, Edward Cella Art and Architecture
Paul Ryan: Portraits of the Workshops, 1966 & 1968, Edward Cella Art and Architecture, Los Angeles
Paul Ryan: the sun that never sets, Reynolds Gallery, Richmond
Happy Days on the Leisure Coast, Olsen Irwin, Woollahra
Melbourne Art Fair 2014, Olsen Irwin, Woollahra

Showing all 3 artworks

  • Paul Ryan

    Canggu Wave

    oil on canvas

    101 × 101 cm


  • Paul Ryan

    Fishes and Pineapple


    64 × 91 cm

  • Paul Ryan

    Study for cannibal

    oil on canvas

    82 × 71 cm