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Q&A Beverly Ryan – Contributor Series

Get to know our authors through the new Contributor Series. A group of short posts from Proximity Arts members. Allow us to share our work and our thoughts on making work with you.

Beverly Ryan has a lot going on she is an Art League instructor, Torpedo Factory Artist and student. Recently she sat down to answer a few questions and talk a bit about her creative process and her work “Eating the Cake”, which was Best in Show for the “mini” (large works) portion of “Mini MAX” juried exhibition displayed in The Art League Gallery, Alexandria, VA, during October 2015.

Eating the Cake.JPG

What was your goal with the painting, “Eating the Cake”?

Beverly Ryan: This painting developed out of a previous work called “Tower.” Both paintings make indirect references to environmental issues — drilling for and using fossil fuels. Oil derricks figure in both works.

Originally the intention was to make the wedding cake form more pronounced, but just one well-defined layer and a crown at the top survived the process. The active black strokes at the bottom again reference petroleum production — drilling, spills, splashing, chaos. The phrase “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too” provided my title. In my opinion, we are eating our environmental cake.

Why are you a painter? Why oil and encaustic specifically?

I have worked in several media, but when I found my way to paint, I knew I was “home.” The directness of painting is perfect for me as I work through evolving ideas. Oil paint and encaustic paint create rich surfaces and surface tension is important to my work.


What’s your creative process like from an idea to a completed piece?

I work intuitively. There usually is a small germ of an idea that gets me started, but the paintings change as I work. I build, destroy and rebuild until it becomes “something.” I figure out how to make a painting as I paint it. I have learned to trust the process and have a dialogue with the painting.

I am most happy creatively when this “conversation” with the forms, colors, lines, ideas leads me to new conclusions. I like to surprise myself. I like to end up in a new place every time.

What are you working on now?

Presently I have four directions developing. One is my ongoing longtime pursuit of rich abstracted forms. Another is the exploration of linear structures – webs. Another is soft sculpture canvas forms. The last includes imported images of drones in drawings and paintings that suggest maps, vectors, strikes, continents. It’s all research and the outcome is unknown. My job is to keep the faith and see where the process takes me.

– for two weeks in June 2016, Bev will study with Graham Nixon in the NYSS “Drawing Marathon.”

For posts written by Beverly Ryan for Proximity Arts (click here)

This post appeared first on The Art League Blog in November 2015.


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