King of Hearts shows the proud bearing and beautiful form of the male lion at rest in nature. As part of my Lion Series this work has the color, connection, and vitality of animals in the wild. Touching an animal is a luxurious tactile experience. Most people don’t get to touch a lion. In painting the mane I wanted to evoke the sensation I used to get running my fingers through my collies thick ruff. I created this feeling with the textured paint and rainbow of glazes.
I chose the title because I have used King of Hearts as my avatar online. It is also a character in anime. As a person in a wheelchair many people might view me as powerless. I never have felt that way and choose to identify with images that reflect the strength, individuality, and confidence that I truly feel. This painting conveys so many connections for me and it has the majesty, power and presence that people have attributed to the other paintings in my Lion series.

Donald Ryker has been painting since his teens. He was inspired to begin painting when he discovered he could use a hard hat on his head to direct his brush. He has lived his life with cerebral palsy and was thrilled to find an outlet for his creativity and a way to communicate his love of life, and his message to people that anyone can accomplish things in life if they are creative and persistent; there is always a way to find the positive in life. Ryker's paintings reflect his joy in life, and his desire to connect. His artwork inspires others with his choice of color and ability to draw in his viewer.

As with other creative artists, being unique has led Ryker to develop his own style. He paints luminous vibrant artwork by using bold clear colors, underpainting to bring out the values, and layering glaze in his unique technique that he calls Impasto Glaze. The end result reflects light beautifully and has the quality of stained glass. The viewer will continually find new details to enjoy.