"I paint because beauty matters. Every person on this earth is undergoing, or has undergone, their own brand of turmoil of which few may understand. Whilst it is impossible for a portrait artist to simply step into a sitter’s shoes, through the careful scrutiny that a realist work requires, I seek to unveil the essence of a person’s being and represent it in a way that recognises the beauty inherent to the human condition.”
The practice of a classical realist painter is about the representation of life based on direct observation with a focus on skill, beauty, harmony and order. It involves years of rigorous training as well as a dedication to the mastery of craftsmanship and has been with us as a form of visual expression over many centuries.
The Classical Realist Tradition is often seen today as being incompatible with Modernism and out of fashion in a contemporary world. However, there continues to be significant interest in classical painting and an ever-growing movement of artists around the world who respect the skill and beauty that can be achieved with this style of painting. These important techniques are fortunately being upheld and sustained by an increasing number of international schools that base their teaching on the traditional Atelier model.
As a classical realist painter my training has included time spent at The Grand Central Academy in NY, Studio Escalier in Paris and the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney. Inspiration for my choice of painting style comes from many past masters - Vermeer, Velasquez, Repin, Kramskoi, and Annigoni to name a few as well as contemporary artists such Colleen Barry, Jeremy Lipking and Nick Alm.
It is my aim as a painter to continue to learn and improve my skills, to share my knowledge and struggles with others and enjoy the wonderful journey that art is in my life.
Sally Ryan is an Australian painter and portrait artist living and operating in Sydney. Her style is best described as contemporary realism with an emphasis on portraiture although her practice includes all genres of painting.
Before portraiture became her primary focus, Sally had worked for a number of years in both the graphic and ceramic arts. These practices laid the foundation for the patterning and detail her art is noted for today. The human subject, though, remained a point of interest throughout her career and after a few years of intensive study at the Julian Ashton Art School (including a Scholarship in 2010), portraiture and figurative art had become her passion.
Sally now works in oils, graphite and charcoal and has been recognized in competitions across Australia and internationally.
She is a member of Portrait Artists Australia and has had works exhibited with this organisation at the Art House Gallery, NSW Parliament House and the Australian Embassy in Washington. In 2016 she had a portrait of the former premier, Ted Baillieu, unveiled in the Parliament of Victoria and also painted Judith Poole, retiring headmistress of Abbotsleigh Girls School.
Sally teaches portraiture and figure painting at the Julian Ashton Art School. She has a studio in Mt Kuring gai, Sydney, and is available for commissions.
Awarded Signature Status by the Portrait Society of America 2018.
It is my aim as a painter to continue to learn
and improve my skills,
to share my knowledge and struggles with others
and enjoy the wonderful journey
that art is in my life.