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About the Artist

About

 I've been a professional artist for over 25 years. Early on I developed a deep rooted passion for family entertainment which I credit to his parents for family vacations throughout my youth. In 1994 I enrolled in an internship with Walt Disney World and set my sites on becoming a concept illustrator. That same year I was accepted to Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL and began my career in the arts. Upon graduating in 1998 I began doing designs and illustrations for themed attractions and restaurants. Most notably, I was commissioned to do conceptual renderings for Hard Rock Cafe' that included locations in Paris, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Yankee Stadium. Currently, I'm thrilled to be the Creative Director for a thriving chain of restaurants called David's Burgers out of Little Rock, AR. Over my eleven years with David's Burgers I had the privilege of creating countless billboards, advertisements and building designs. Recently, I've even had the honor of acting as GC overseeing the construction of many David's Burgers and other concepts such as Jess's Chicken and strip centers.

I still enjoys family vacations and love to travel with my wife, Wendy. Trips to Costa Rica, Mexico, Florida and around Arkansas continue to inspire me to produce story driven narratives that I transcribes onto the canvas. My approach is to simply produce the setting for the viewer to step into and let their own life experiences and dreams guide them within the art. Bold colors and whimsical varied brush strokes control the level of energy in each art piece.

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Water Tower Design

One of the great highlights of my career is the opportunity that the city of Hot Springs presented me to design the art for the Hot Springs water tower. The contest was a call to all artists who wanted to participate and the winner would, of course, have his or her design painted on the the tower.

Hot Springs has so much history, so many events and so many activities that it was a great challenge to figure out how to include them all while appealing to the great number of visitors Hot Springs sees each and every year. The solution that presented itself was the rolling hills of this great city. Those hills have seen it all; the Native Americans, the baseball players, the gangsters, the races, the installation of the lakes and the growth of what Hot Springs has become. Pairing the hills with a welcoming message seemed like the right direction and I was awarded the prize of having my art on the tower.

Luckily, I didn't have to actually paint the tower but I did get to work with the painters to produce the final image. A number of challenges arose over the course of the painting but were easily overcome and I'm very proud of the results.

The Hot Springs water tower design came in third place in a nationwide juried contest for "Tank of the Year", beating out hundreds of other tanks throughout the United States. I'm so very grateful to the city of Hot Springs and the community.

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Ryan is a full-time Creative Director for David's Burgers and loves his job.

Over his nearly nine years with David's Burgers, Ryan has had a hand in designing everything from billboards to menu boards to custom art pieces (check out David's bathrooms) to advertisements to the very buildings themselves. It's quite a great adventure working for a young aggressive company and you never know what hat you'll be wearing next. For Ryan, that new hat is construction management.

Because of the responsibilities Ryan has at David's Burgers, he does not take on freelance work. All of his paintings are highly personal and his way of relaxing in his down time.

My Day Job

My Process

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I start with a toned canvas. The color of the toning depends on the painting mood. In this case I wanted festive and bright. You can see my under-sketch through the yellow paint. I always loosely sketch out the image with a pencil before painting.

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This is my color palette. I lay my colors out in a traditional way with the warm colors to the left and the cooler colors to the right followed by earthy colors. I do several dots of white paint down the right side in order the keep the white as clean as possible while mixing colors. I also keep a little dish of Winsor Newton Liquin Original to aid in mixing. I prefer using paper palette as it's so easy to clean with all is done. You pretty much just wad it up and throw it away.

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Initially I just start blocking in my shapes. I tend to paint the negative space at first, sky, then block in background objects. Then I focus on the foreground working big shapes to smaller shapes. Never get caught working details this early in the painting. Just big sketchy shapes. The goal is to nail the composition first. Once you have that then you can go nuts with detail.

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Still blocking in larger shapes but now withing smaller areas. I had quite a bit of reference images from different angles and now I'm making sure that all my spacing is adding up properly. I'm also starting to brighten the image. I generally paint dark to light.

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All of my larger blocking is complete. Now moving to details. Fixing areas and working into people and details on float as well as building. I'm trying to keep building loose and more detail in foreground image. I have a bad habit of overworking an image so I have to keep a close eye on myself.

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Nearly complete! Adding in more color and more detail as I see fit. At this point I'm paying close attention to color balance, pushing things further away or bringing them close forward with color. Remember to stand back from your painting often to make sure you're getting everything right.

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In his private life, Ryan likes to keep things simple. He enjoys spending as much time as he can with his beautiful wife, Wendy. They love to travel together and treasure both the journey and the destinations. They have three grown children (Devin, Dylan and Ryan along with their wives Dannielle, Kati and Monica) and four awesome grandkids (Karma, Logyn, Eli and Dexter). Ryan loves to embrace life and have fun in all things. He loves the Lord, loves people and loves art.

Recently Sold

Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Oil on Canvas (33" x 28")

This one was a lot of fun! Festive and illustrative, lively

and special depicting a float in the Choctaw Parade. This house is located at 2618 St Charles Ave.

 

Choctaw parade began in 1935 and continues still today. This painting is a  tribute to the Choctaw, A Thing Of Beauty parade held in 2017. A couple of interesting things about the house in the background: It was built in 1870's and is know as the Belfort. The mansion was originally built for Alexander C. Hutchinson, who lived there with his wife until his death in 1902. It was then converted into apartments. The first season of MTV's The Real World New Orleans was filmed in this house. I never saw that show but maybe you were a fan. After the show New Orleans-based art director Monroe Kelly and architect Lee Ledbetter turned the apartments back into the original single family home.

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We are grateful that this painting has found a new home with some wonderful people. In fact, this float is part of their family. This is

Ryan's first completed work of 2022.

©2021 All artwork, photographs and information are property of Ryan Rooney. All rights reserved.

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