I look for a subject that will draw the audience to connect with my work. In this piece you see the moment in time a father and his cubs pause when an observer catches their attention. Do you feel the peace and calm in this image? Notice how relaxed they continue to be. The father is even resting his chin on top of his cub’s head. Do you feel the connection between the dad and his cubs?

In planning this painting I wanted to create a work on multiple canvases because the larger scale would allow me to show the relationship between a father and his offspring. This image has light and shadow and I could have fun with color. I began by blocking in the color with underpainting, then glazed with layers of translucent color to create the luminous quality. Look closely at the mane. I layered green, blue, red, orange, and purple glazes to create a lot of texture and depth.

Lions are one of my favorite subjects because of their presence and fearlessness. I am able to create a strong image that makes a statement. —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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