MALCOLM RYAN paintings
IN MEMORY OF MAUREEN
An online exhibition from 30th March until 30th June 2023
Click on image to enlarge
For this online exhibition I thought to gather a selection of my paintings to celebrate the life of my wife Maureen who died in October 2022. She featured in many of my figurative subject paintings, first in the early 1970s, and then on through the following decades. There are some portraits of her, but mainly she was my model, used with my friends and family to feature in my paintings in a variety of roles.
In later years I took up a new theme in my painting, Reconstructing the Past, by going back to the 1970s. Rather a dream of a period in our lives when we took the bold step to leave London to convert a small 19th century mill in Suffolk into a home. I had then many ideas for painting compositions, but few were ever done as I had not the skill or experience, and especially not the time, as such required very many hours of work to complete. I had to concentrate on getting a reliable living as a freelance illustrator. Not to have to retreat to London, we both shared such hope and optimism to gain our new life there. It was hope for the future, fraught then with poverty but rich in happiness.
Among the paintings featured here are The Sisters, of Maureen in the 1970s with her young sister Margaret in the foreground, the vast panorama of wheat fields is seen beyond. There is also Transient Beauty, painted in 2017; both paintings going back in time, aided by my use of original reference material from the past. Other paintings on the theme are here too, also included is one early picture from 1970, of Maureen with our daughters, Jane and Anne.
More importantly than Maureen being a model used for my paintings, was her support and belief in my vocation. I doubt whether I would ever have had the time and commitment to dedicate my life to my work as a painter. Her support was unstinted and sustained throughout the sixty years of our marriage. During most of that time I worked at home, we were a team, and I relied on her gift of optimism and cheerfulness to lift my rather sombre moods, as I struggled at times to remain positive in an often hostile art world.
We had met in our early twenties in Central London, and discovered and thrived on the cultural life of the capital, experiencing the art exhibitions, the museums and galleries there, and at that vibrant time of the 1960s, with constant visits to theatre and music venues. Maureen was very well educated
in regard to paintings, as she had seen the very best in Europe. I valued her judgement and discernment on what I produced, as it was informed and honest and always constructive. I miss her so much in my old age, as there are so few that I can share such important aspects of my life with. We had grown together over the years, shared so much, and complimented each other by our differing personalities as a loving couple. I miss her, but feel blessed by the gift of knowing her and living my life with her.