My name is Ryan Kohler.
I am an oil painter working in Skowhegan, ME. I received a BA in Art from the University of Maine at Augusta in 2011 with a concentration in drawing.
Each painting is a one of a kind original (no prints) of my own design and execution. My subject matter ranges from heavy machinery and architecture to florals, plein air work and still lifes. Although I do work from photographs occasionally, the vast majority of my work is done from direct observation whether it be in the field (plein air) or in the studio.
I am interested in the formal aspects of representational painting ie. composition/color/value/texture etc. but focus mostly on finding abstract yet implicit shapes and trying to find ways to simplify my subjects.
In the autumn, I tend to stray from my usual habits, and get curious about things other than painting. I work on the house, create music, hunt etc. This year, I apparently felt like switching over to acrylics. It’s good to break out of your comfort zone at times, and it sometimes pays to be curious. It’s good for the ‘ol noggin.
It feels like I do more experimenting than anything else lately. Little visual snippets and fleeting glimpses from my morning routine turn into abstract phrases of color.
Rocks and grass. Trying to achieve a sense of ascension. Also trying to teleport to this beautiful, warm, summer-in-Maine beach day.
Every once in a while, when you are traveling along on a familiar, boring, dusty, gray trail, you happen to glance in the right direction at the perfect moment, and are rewarded with a glimpse of something fresh and new. The excitement. You wonder if it was always there, or you just never had the capacity to see it before today.
I’ve probably painted this surface 20 times already. Some of them fight you and make your brain itch.
Guess who won first place in the painting category in Brunswick, ME?! Now get this... I know it sounds selfish, but I paint for me. If no one in the world ever saw or bought a painting of mine ever again, I would still paint. I would paint aggressively too, because it genuinely thrills me. That being said, does it feel good to get some recognition along the way to let me know I’m on the right path? You’re damn right. Small victories feel good, and deserve to be celebrated. There’s a LOT of good artists here today, so I’m honored. Thank you BOAF. 🙏
I always gotta have a painting like this in stock. I love getting the colors in the painting really close to accurate before i start infusing colors from other areas of the painting into other areas where they aren't normally, if that makes sense.
For example, I'll pull the greens from the lawn outside into the shadow cast by the boots, and pull the red browns from the boots into the fence outside. It's easy to go overboard, and the color decisions are based purely on intuition and personal taste, but it adds interest and emotion if done right. It's a lot of fun tying an image together with this method.