On Texture: One on One with Mike Ryon


We just discussed ways in which we might add or enhance the textural quality of our own fingerpaintings. Now let’s have a look at someone who puts those methods to good use.

“Angkor Wat” by Mike Ryon

Mike Ryon is a fingerpainter fairly new to the scene, but who’s work certainly reveals the experience (and results) of a very well seasoned painter. Ryon’s work is most known for its expressive textural qualities and his impressionistic, lively display of subject matter.

Ryon created his first fingerpainting in August 2009 and never looked back. Fascinated with the unique effects of layered paint on canvas, he skillfully manages to recreate it visually with the seemingly limited toolbox offered in art apps like Brushes, Paintbook, Photogene and Photocanvas.  “It is a conscious move to simulate the 3-D effects of paint globs on canvas.  I am intrigued by the accidental nature of oils and the way it can be layered.  I use that experiene to build or simulate it with pixels.”  Ryon says.

Ryon is inspired by the everyday photographs he takes with his Canon and iPhone.  He uses these photos as an inspirational base for a more ambitious endeavor:  creating virtual “oil” paintings.  Ryon, who loosely refers to his style as “multi-faceted impressionism”, typically sketches his images out in paintbook and then transfers variations to Brushes–layer by layer–to develop his lively abstracts and landscapes. The process is very organic–the artist feels his way through each individual piece, resourcefully employing multiple app features. “[I may] send it to photogene perhaps for color balancing and/or contrast adjustments.  NO  rules, just right!” he says.

Before entering the digital arena, Ryon experimented with everything from pencils and oil paints to plaster.  His experimentation with these different mediums can be attributed to his upbringing.  “It certainly helps if you’re allowed to wander through your dad’s studio, maybe make a kite out of tissue paper, or borrow a brush to paint a model airplane.”  Ryon believes these experiences have shaped his approach to fingerpainting on his iphone.  And it has clearly shaped his point of view, as well.

Ryon offers a sampling of his process:
“I’m truely amazed at the immediacy of this portable studio.  I recently had a pipe burst in my home which ruined some photos I had printed.  One photo in particular was behind glass and the water damage was…well interesting.  I immediately took a photo!”
“As I was photographing this print a reflection in the glass inspired a different piece alltogether.  I saw my model of the space shuttle in the reflection.  Again I immediately took the shot.  My photo album is full of strange reference materials ready and waiting to be combined with brushes or paintbook.”
“Out of the disaster comes a few new images!”

"Watermark Holler" by Mike Ryon

"Taking Air Data" by Mike Ryon

When asked how he might advise someone looking to explore textures in their own work, Ryon keeps it fun and free, “Mix it up! Your photo album is full of textures, and the apps are beautifully designed to integrate these samples.  In some instances I’ll find a texture in an oil painting I’ve done…and click!  It’s in there.  Layering, merging, erasing, sharpening, burning and dodging, it’s all there and in your hand!”  In other words, experiment! Have fun! “you just might end up with art.”

More about the artist:

“I’m living and working in a rather isolated spot in north east Kansas.   It’s very quiet out here, but the night sky is glorious!  Flickr has enabled me to rejoin the art community and has helped foster the artistic growth I’ve been seeking.  I feel a lot less reclusive as a result. Besides painting on my iPhone I enjoy camping, windsurfing, flying, cycling, stargazing, and the occasional fine dining!   I hope to include traveling in the mix soon.  If you’d like to discuss art, or any of the above mentioned,  I’m on Facebook ready at any time to make new friends. Just gimme a holler! :)”

A good friend indeed.  Thanks for sharing your insights with FP.it, Mike!

Part 1 of this post deals with textures and ways to achieve them in fingerpainting.

7 Responses to “On Texture: One on One with Mike Ryon”

  • Bakawhite Says:

    I was wondering when we’d see mike up in the blog. I like hearing the stories of these pictures, post some for your work sometimes!

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    Yeah, he has a very unique perspective. And I like that he is very open–inspiration-wise. He must look at things and just see art. I’m sure a lot of us are that way. But more than that, he’s just a really great person. Great spirit…it shows in his work. This is really an amazing group of artists–the more I learn about everyone, the more inspired I become…

    that said, you send some of your stories too! 😉

  • mike j ryon Says:

    Well alright, Mia! You made it sound like I know what um doing with this contraption! See how gifted you are as a writer? Thanks a million for highlighting my thoughts on the medium. 🙂

  • Michael Ives Says:

    I really enjoy reading about how traditionally trained artists are using these new mediums. Thanks Mia….and thank you Mike for some great insights into your thoughts and techniques.

  • suzi54241 Says:

    Another great article about a terrific artists who knows what he’s after. Kudos to you both, I’ll be looking for more of your work.

  • Textures: tutoriels « nxurb – notes d'atelier Says:

    […] On Texture: One on One with Mike Ryon (Mia Robinson – 12 février 2010) Angkor Wat by Mike Ryon « Faces […]

  • momodot Says:

    This stuff looks so great but my results have been so poor. I have tried integrating texture photographs and using layers to build up texture. I even have found a little unsharp mask can create a subtle illusion on impasto but I would really appreciate if someone would give a very detailed tutorial suggesting how to obtain color “texture” and also some pseudo 3D brushwork or texture. I have tried to find an app to give some grain but have not found the right one for me yet. My frustration comes in part from having done my first digital touch work on my kid’s DS and the app I used had a nice simulated grain that gave my marks a beautiful look. On iTouch I have failed to simulate grain or paper/canvas texture using layers or brush settings thus far and I am hoping someone can help 🙂

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