Alaskan Bear


Original Acrylic on Canvas

24 x 24 x 1.75″

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This bear has just come to the shore out of the woods and his nose is raised as he checks his surroundings. Alaskan bears can frequently be seen on the shoreline. They are huge mammals at the top of their food chain without much threat from any other predators. You can see the heaviness of his neck and massive shoulders under his thick coat of hair. I chose to paint him in shades of orange. I was working with a monochrome range of colors in tints and shades from light to dark. This bear is the first time I tried using a paint rake to create the texture of his fur. He also has many layers of glaze over the original pigment that was blocked in to create lights and shadows. An wild animal specialist viewed this painting in a solo show and told me the eyes are exactly like looking into a wild bear’s eyes. Quite a compliment. —Donald Ryker


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.


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