Painter of Strong Women Wants to Meet her Muse – Madonna

D.O.M.'s Great Grandmother
D.O.M.’s great-great grandmother, Russian aristocrat turned snake charmer

What would you expect of the great-great granddaughter of a Circus Strongman and a Russian aristocrat who fled to marry her love and perform as the Circus Snake-Charmer?

That she would be strong? bold? That she would grow up to cherish powerful, rebellious women?

Absolutely. Meet D.O.M., (Dominika Zurawska), a strong, capable woman who has found a way to share of all of this through her powerful art.  Her strong coloration and bold women full of life are impossible to pass by in an exhibition without feeling their impact.

D.O.M. cherishes these female rebels with each big fat paint stroke.

And who was the bold woman who inspired her the most? Madonna – first as her inspiration in life, and then as her muse.

“When I was young, I had to be the strong one.  I had to support my parents and younger brother, it was a difficult time,” says D.O.M. Back then, even her art was difficult. “I went to Art School, and my teachers told me I should never paint.  They said I could sculpt or do other art but my paintings were worthless.”

While working in a coffee house, she finally really listened to Madonna’s messages. She realized how strong Madonna really was, what a rebel she’d been, and found a hero in spirit that has helped support her own bold spirit through hard times. Madonna made a huge impact on her life.

After a leg injury left her disabled for a time, she decided to paint on the canvases she’d bought for school to pass the time.  Her Manager saw them and suggested that she hang them at the shop and have an exhibition.  D.O.M. said, “but my paintings are worthless!”  The Manager hung them anyway. There were 9 of them. 8 sold.


Madonna, Oil Painting, Art by D.O.M., Strong Women
Detail, Madonna Painting by D.O.M.

D.O.M. married, and eventually took an office job to help support her young and growing family. Thirteen months ago, with a one-year-old baby, D.O.M. was laid off. In a bold, Madonna-like move, D.O.M. decided that she should pursue her artwork. And that she had one year to make it.

Since then, she has been in 8 different exhibitions in 3 countries,with another coming soon in Glasgow ( January 2016 ), the next in Lost Angeles (April 2016) and after that, New York (November 2016).

DOM art regents park
One of D.O.M.’s Rebel Women Paintings in the Underground

I met her at the Parallax Art Fair in London, where she was showing several of her Rebel Women series, all based on her muse, Madonna.  “I didn’t want Madonna to think I was using her to get publicity and sales, so I changed them”, says D.O.M., of the Rebel Women works, “but she (Madonna) inspired them all.”

D.O.M. was the busiest of all of the 200+ artists at the Fair. We joked about making up t-shirts that say, “Buy My Art so I don’t have to go Back to the OFFICE!”

She didn’t need the t-shirt. She’s now selling well and has several commissions lined up. Her art is now collected in 6 countries. She has won awards. But is that enough?

Nope. “I really want Madonna to have my painting of her,” says D.O.M., “and I want to be there when she sees it! She changed my life.”


painting, madonna, oils, strong women, bold womenWhen we Skyped to interview for this piece, D.O.M. was busy painting a masterful Madonna, whose eyes dare you to see her as anything but powerful. Madonna’s just gotta see this one.

Help her out! If you have connections or have connections that have connections, pass along the word, would you? Help this talented painter meet her hero and her muse, and give Madonna the painting.



D.O.M.’s website Interview with D.O.M.


btw, it worked.  Madonna got the painting – and D.O.M.’s going strong.  Check out her website or FB page.

Ciccone by D.O.M.

Info on Painting with Gravity – Liquitex Pouring Medium Demo

contemporary, abstracted underwater painting, blues and oranges, by Linda Ryan
New Series of Underwater acrylic pour paintings
Dreams of the Reef at Dawn by Linda Ryan
Copyright 2015 by Linda Ryan

I recently posted a YouTube video (link below) where I demonstrate how I created this underwater painting using Liquitex Pouring Medium, acrylics, a spoon and my (gloved) finger … ok, and a couple of tarps and stuff like that.

It was one of those magical afternoons when, after four days of painting mostly bottom layers, it all came together and just flowed. Sometimes, in the words of Audrey Flack (Art & Soul, a wonderful book), everything disappears in the room except the art and you … and then it’s just the art…

I happened to get lucky enough to get that on film!

Because of that, the Pour Painting Demo – Dreams of the Reef at Dawn makes it look pretty easy.

Once in awhile it’s just you and the art, and then…

ARTISTS: If you are an artist and want to try it, please spend some time exploring the medium on a smaller scale, first!  It took me a couple of years of experimentation to get to a good understanding of how each different pigment is going to react to the medium. Some float, some like to sit on the surface, some like to be by themselves and some overpower everything around them.

Nowadays there are a lot of videos out there that demonstrate how to use the medium, and you can also use my earlier “DIY” blog to get a little grounding in the medium.

Then, be brave, get your gloves on and start pouring!

Art that Connects you with Humanity

Delivered the art today to Art San Diego (in cool Balboa Park). Walking through there, I felt incredibly proud to be exhibiting amongst all the amazing art. This is a stellar show.

I know I’m a good artist. I know I can express in a unique way. And I know I’m not the best, but sometimes I reach the best I can be. That’s a good thing.

But some of this art, today ... well, let’s just leave it at a big wow. A couple of pieces left me feeling humbled before exposed humanity, and all I had time for was to walk by them. I’m gonna love exploring all this cool work over the next several days.

I should suggest this more often: Get out and get in front of some art that gets you in the gut, gives you goosebumps, gives you that thrill in the chest like a deep bass beat – but better, more deeply – a thrill that hums inside. Art reminds us of things we’ve forgotten, tells us things we could never get in any other way. It makes us soooo much more human than we often remember to take time for in our everyday lives.

You don’t have to buy it if you can’t afford it. You can just remember it, and the experience of it.

I’ll never forget a Nathan Oliveira piece I saw at John Beggruen’s Gallery in SF well over a decade ago. One of his red-figure silhouettes. I couldn’t talk afterwards, it hit me so hard.

I don’t have to own it to remember it and how it affected me. I’m not even sure I could handle that affect everyday. Not even sure I’d like the experience of starting to ignore it … could that happen? Point is moot, could not have afforded it. But I will always remember how it affected me.

Can’t wait til tomorrow night, when the VIP reception hits and there’s amazing art to be encountered in the halls … and I come home exhausted from either talking or engaging with the art. So thankful.

Thanks to you, too, for following along.


Art San Diego Contemporary!

2. Ocean Floor 24x24

Several of my new underwater series will be exhibited at Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair, a juried, high-end art fair exhibiting 500 artists’ works in gallery groupings and interesting themed exhibits at Balboa Park in San Diego.

The VIP reception is Thursday evening, November 5th, and the show continues 11-6 until Sunday November 8th.  My work is in Booth 321.

Seeing these pieces in person makes such a huge difference – photography flattens them out and you don’t get the sense of luminosity that you would if you were standing in front of them.

If you are in the area, stop by and say hi! I plan to be at the booth at least between 2-4pm each day, and again towards closing each day  I do want to check out the fair and all the galleries exhibiting!

🙂  Linda

LATER:  It went great! Woot woot!

7. Approaching the Temple Ryan L 18x18

“Talent Plus” Exhibition at Las Laguna Gallery

contemporary, abstracted underwater painting, blues and oranges, by Linda Ryan
“Dreams of the Reef at Dawn” 
Copyright 2015 by Linda Ryan

This was accepted into “Talent Plus”, an exhibition at Laguna Beach gallery Las Laguna Art Gallery .  Yes!!!

Per the gallery that organized the artist exhibition:  The word talent originally was meant to represent a unit of mass. It was used in ancient times in Greece, the Roman Empire, and the Middle East to weigh precious metals like gold and silver. The word is often tied to the Bible parable, Matthew 25:14-30, that explains that one should not hide a God given endowment, and that even one talent is a large sum.

The word talent is now used to describe ones natural and abilities, aptitudes, and inclinations to do something extremely well.

For this exhibition; local, national, and international artists submitted work for this open theme show. The results are inspiring and remarkable.

The event will be part of Laguna Beach ArtWalk on Thursday November 5th from 6:30 pm to 10pm for the Artist Reception (I won’t be able to be there – I’ll be at Art San Diego Contemporary’s VIP night!!! but I do plan on going to the gallery late on Saturday.) The exhibition runs from November 5th to November 30.

Perfect place for this piece!

My Pour Paintings are now online at Xanadu – Woot Woot!

contemporary, art, painting, oranges, rust, metallics, acrylic, pour painting, pouring medium, bold, movement, energetic
Big Flow – Acrylic Pour Painting in Warm Hues copyright 2014 by Linda Ryan

Newly entered into the Xanadu Gallery’s online store!

I’ll be loading up new works every other week.  I’d love feedback!

Thanks for stopping by,

Linda Ryan

Contemporary, abstract, liquitex pouring medium, pour painting, colorful green and bronze art
time4.0 by Linda Ryan
UPDATE:  I am now completely sold on ArtResin, a non-yellowing, museum-grade acrylic resin with excellent UV stabilizers.  It’s expensive, so it’s not going to be for everyone, but if you are intending to exhibit or sell your pours in galleries, it might be worth it.  It’s nontoxic, also.  Great info and demo videos are on the website, but I suggest looking up any questions on their FAQ page, here.
Below is my original post:

Hi there!  I thought I’d give you some information about how to care for your poured art made with .Liquitex Pouring Medium.

After it’s dry on the surface, it can stay open or slightly sticky and vulnerable to damage for a while.  And, underneath, it can take a while for all of the moisture to evaporate – you can usually see a degree of milkiness while it’s drying.  Sandwiched layers can take weeks to dry (think of milk trying to dry between a sealed plastic envelope), so be patient, especially in high humidity.  

While drying, make sure to keep dust off it, especially if it’s exposed to heat. Exposure to heat opens acrylic molecules and it can tend to grab the dust and become one with it.  This can happen with paper, or whatever pourous object is touching it.  This medium is particularly susceptible to this problem.

Give it several weeks to fully cure before you varnish it. I like Golden’s or Krylon’s gloss UV archival spray varnish – less chance of bubbling than brushing it on and hardens the surface a bit. Make sure to follow the directions and keep the nozzle clean to avoid spattering, which can ruin your finish. UV protectant is a good idea, especially if you use a lot of interference paint, which can go “fugitive” on you with sun exposure.

I still suggest using care when handling it or storing it, if it isn’t going to be hung on your wall right away. The medium never really goes as hard as a resin, and you want to protect it from dings and dents.

First Art Encounters


My first real art encounter was in fourth grade. As usual, I’d either been too talkative or too helpful with others’ schoolwork and was sent to the library as punishment. Punishment! With my glasses on the end of my nose, pouring through a treasure of books I’d never be able to own, I was in heaven.

Sometimes there were piles of donations that hadn’t been gone through and catalogued yet. Someone must have donated my find – a big art history book on the Impressionists, filled with large photos of the great works.

Woman with a parasol, especially, but the entire book of paintings astounded me, for many reasons.

First, because it was as if they were painting nearsighted, the way I saw things without my glasses. They seemed alive, those paintings. Not like a photograph – Like they could move or dance or you could step into them and be in a magical world. And, they weren’t even trying to paint within any lines! It was messy! It was imperfect and they were proud of it.

And, for the first time, I understood that art could make you feel something. Wonder, joy, a connection with a long-dead artist, a sense that a person actually painted that woman, that umbrella! and that because it left you with such a good feeling, you sort of “knew” him and knew you would have liked each other.

The book was gone after that day. Perhaps someone decided it should be in the high school library instead, such a nice book, that gangly girl with the cat-eyes and messy braids is going to crumple the pages, the way she’s holding it so tightly…

Because I had to appease that inner urge to take drawing as far as I could, I found myself on the trajectory of hyper-realism and did that for many years. It started with my mother supplying me with beautiful new pencils and drawing tablets whenever I needed them. Even when we were broke.

It wasn’t until later that life showed me the lessons I learned in 4th grade were what I needed to follow: Paint what you see how you want to express it. Forget following the lines. Be messy. Make it alive.

I’m not an impressionist, by any means. But that book laid the foundation, and I am thankful to that unknown donor to this day.

I’d love to hear from you about your own art experiences!

Linda Ryan

Works by Students in my First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop

First Luminous Pour Painting-focused Workshop 2015, 12x18
First Luminous Pour Painting-focused Workshop 2015, 12×18, by Frank Castillo

The workshop, held August 31st at the Bothwell Arts Center, turned out great and taught me as well! I’m giving my first students great introductory prices so that I can get their feedback and improve as a teacher, also, before I go out and do this on a broader scale.  Want to join us? For a limited time, you can get my workshop materials for free, learn how to make luminous pours, and be one of my “pour painting test kitchen recruits” – click here.

Students practiced on plexi and then created these pieces themselves!  Woot woot!

First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015 – Beverly Castillo
Contemporary abstract
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop
2015 by Peggy Schimmelman
contemporary abstract
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015 by Marge Haggin
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015 by Jeanne Bartelt
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015 – June Ferrerri
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015 – Vicki Aboumrad


First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015 – Tammy Averill

Luminous Pour Painting by Nancy Carver

First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015 – Nancy Carver
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015 – Carol Eicher
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015
First Luminous Pour Painting Workshop, 2015 – Norma Webb

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