John Ryan was born in Glasgow and started his schooling on the West Coast of Scotland before moving to London where he completed his education at Ealing School of Art in the sixties. With a natural talent for drawing, good comprehension of technology and a creative flair he followed a career in Industrial Design and started his own design practice in 1975. After wining a coveted Design Council Award he worked closely with The Department of Trade and Industry to promote the value of well designed consumer products. He was elected a Fellow of The Chartered Society of Designers in 1988 and has contributed to design education as a visiting lecturer at several universities and art schools including the Royal College of Art. Throughout his career John has maintained an active interest in drawing and painting landscapes stemming from childhood attempts to draw his natural surroundings in Scotland. Over the past few years he has increasingly made time to concentrate on his painting, researching new subject material, perfecting his painting techniques and establishing a specific theme and strategy for his work. Then in 2008 he made the conscious decision to paint full time and restrict his portfolio to the Scottish landscape which he has explored in depth over many years as a mountaineer, photographer and artist.
John's preferred season for reconnaissance and study is from late autumn to early spring when the cold air provides excellent visibility. The crisp shallow light fully reveals the landscape's topography and illuminates the explosion of colour that unfolds over this period.
Following in the footsteps of the Scottish Colourists he likes to work in vibrant primary colour. He paints in oil applied with a painting knife, the medium he has most empathy with and a technique ideally suited to his subject. He likens dragging a knife laden with paint across a canvas to receding glaciers scraping and grinding rock, just as they did in during the last ice age, leaving in their wake a beautiful random ruggedness.
John takes meticulous care in considering the different options for a painting by manipulating the key elements of the scene and composing the picture well in advance of mounting a canvas on the easel. Working well within his knowledge of the subject and comprehension of the environment he is able to bring an emotional response to his painting almost bordering on the spiritual.
John has already established a comprehensive body of more than sixty works ranging from atmospheric cityscapes of Glasgow to breathtaking snowcapped mountain ridges of the Isle of Skye and beyond. More than a third of the collection has already sold.
Every painting is a carefully considered and executed work in its own right, portraying a particular scene and reflecting on a specific aspect of the landscape. But when seen collectively they begin to paint an altogether bigger celebratory picture of the Scottish landscape.