I've loved the ocean since I was a young boy, particularly the beach. The sights, sounds, smells, and colors. The aroma of sea spray. The sun warming your body. The sight of swift gulls catching the wind or a setting sun painting the horizon. The shore is a place of wonder and stillness. A place where we can be totally free.
These themes and feelings are what I try to explore in my beach paintings! I tend to focus on the water and scenery, without the obstruction of buildings or people. By keeping my paintings simple, I can invite the viewer in to bask in beauty and solitude.
I can still remember my first trip to the sea like it was yesterday! My parents took us to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and it was official. I was hooked. I fell in love with the sea, the sand, and the sun. I only felt warmth and safety and my parents had a hard time getting me out of the ocean. I cried the whole way back to the house we were staying at.
A young Ryan Kimba building a sandcastle on the bright shores of Lake Michigan!
I always knew I wanted to be an artist, but I didn't know that I would become an oil painter. In fact, I didn't use any wet media until I was 27. As a boy I loved to draw. I would use any art supplies I could get my hands on---markers, crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, graphite, charcoal and finally, soft pastels. I used pastels in my work for many years and sold in art galleries and art fairs around Michigan. I also found some of my pastel paintings published in national art magazines!
It was after that when I set down the pastels for good and began my love affair with oils. When I began painting I used brushes in my work for a very realistic effect. But after a couple of years I really didn't like the direction I was taking, and so I started using palette knives! And I've been using them ever since! Palette knives allowed a freedom and looseness in my work that I felt was truly amazing.
The two key staples in my work are thick textures and bright colors! They separate my work from other artists. The bolder the colors the better. Even if they aren't true to life or nature. As a seascape painter it's important to create idyllic pictures that are romanticized or fantasized. I feel that these qualities are what makes a painting so special! It's what separates it from a photograph. Common themes in my work include tropical shorelines, sunsets, waterfalls, and marine life.
Interacting with the crowds at my very first show at the Northville Gallery in Michigan.
Working on a new painting in the studio!
A Glimpse Into my Process
My Color Palette
My palette of colors used to consist of two reds, two blues, and two yellows. I had a warm and cool for each color. They were Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo Blue, Cadmium Yellow Medium and Cadium Yellow Light. And of course, I used Titanium White to mix my hues. Since then I have added Burnt Sienna, Turquoise Blue Deep, Cadmium Orange, Persian Rose, Primary Magenta, Permanent Green Light, Manganese Violet, and Sap Green.
I usually start by blocking in the entire canvas with my knife. This is my underpainting, which is a little thick, as you can see in the picture above. I then apply a thicker layer of paint with each new subsequent layer, which helps the 3D layers adhere to one another. This exciting process is just like applying colorful frosting on a cake! These impressionistic mounds of paint sparkle under the lights in my studio and make for a wonderful viewing experience, especially up close to the canvas.
View some close-up shots of my painting layers
Or watch these exciting videos below!