From Oprah to the Castle: Watch Her Paint Live on Tuesday

By Purnell T. Cropper | February 11, 2011

Visiting Assistant Professor Abbey Ryan—featured in the February 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine as an “up and coming artisan”—will produce her daily oil painting live in Grey Towers Castle at Arcadia University from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15. The session is open to the public.

The completed painting will be auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting Arcadia’s Jami Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship, which is in memory of Ryan’s friend and classmate.

Ryan is becoming known for her “Abbey Ryan: Painting a Day” website, featured in the O magazine’s column, “Women Who Make Beautiful Things,” and in Seth Godin’s recent bestseller Linchpin.

Ryan’s daily oil paintings are posted on her website,, and focus primarily on food, such as tangerines, grapes, figs, and doughnuts. “Fruit and vegetables have a gesture and living energy about them that inspire me. Also, every one is different,” she says. O, The Oprah Magazine focused on these daily paintings in their full-page feature, “Live Your Best Life” in the February issue on creativity.

Daily oil painting is part of Ryan’s daily routine dedicated to her artwork. Ryan tells O, The Oprah Magazine, “I think my interest in ritual comes from playing basketball for so many years,” referring to her time on the women’s basketball team at Arcadia University. She earned a B.F.A. in Painting and a B.A. in Scientific Illustration in 2003.

Ryan’s alla prima daily oil painting practice is inspired by Italian and Dutch masters she studied in Europe. Her formal art training includes undergraduate and graduate work at Arcadia University, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Hunter College, and the Art Students League of New York, as well as work at Stanford University.

Her latest still life paintings incorporate ceramic bottles and bowls from ceramist Jury Smith’s collection. Ryan says, “Like fruit, handmade objects are unique. They are perfect because they contain inspiring nuances and flaws and personality.”

In addition to her traditional oil painting, Ryan creates abstract works on paper with Sumi ink or tea. “My studio practice inspires me because it is diverse and challenging. I paint every day, and every day it challenges me. My works on paper tend to the contemplative and objective parts of myself, while my daily paintings speak to my in the moment, detail-oriented self,” Ryan explains.

Responding to the national coverage in O, The Oprah Magazine, Ryan said, “I’m a little bit in shock, but every day I aim to focus on how fortunate I am that I spend my time doing what I love.”

For available oil and ink paintings, visit or Also, follow Abbey at or become a fan of Ryan Studio on Facebook.