My name is Colby Riley, and I have a confession: I am addicted to art.
I have been known to get so involved with what I’m doing on canvas or paper that I lose track of time. I’ve even forgot to eat all day (I wish I was joking about this last part). My goal with my art is to bring enjoyment and happiness to the lives who come in contact with it.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I am the oldest of three children. I was fortunate to have the same parents all my life, until the passing of my mom on Mother's Day in 2016. I grew up in a very loving home. Life has been good to me. I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I always had plenty to eat, mainly because every time my brother, my sister or I asked for seconds, my parents would tell us “No, you've had enough to eat.”
My love for art started in preschool where finger-painting was the only thing that I wanted to do. From there, my fascination grew to drawing trucks and dinosaurs. I was completely mesmerized with art and anyone else who drew or painted. Even as a child, my favorites were Charles Schultz and Norman Rockwell.
In 1986, my family moved from the little town of The Dalles to Gresham, Oregon, where I went to Centennial High School. I made some amazing friends and had two amazing art teachers who helped guide me. They taught me so much about art - but it wasn’t without some very strong criticism. During my freshman year in high school, one of my teachers told my parents at a parent-teacher conference that I had absolutely zero talent and that I should take up a cooking class. Those were probably some of the greatest words I’ve ever been told because those are the words that inspired me to do better. In fact, his words inspired me so much that the next parent-teacher conference he apologized for what he said. In my senior year, he wanted me to be his teacher’s aide and nominated me for Student of the Month, which I won. I’ve been told “No” many times, but I’m thankful for that teacher my freshman year where I learned that “No” can be transformed into a “Yes” with focused effort.
In 1992, I went to interview for a job where the HR Director was a portrait artist. He taught me a few tips on how to draw people, and I fell in love with drawing the human face. From then on, I would draw people from photos, magazines, etc.
In 1997, I started drawing Country music artists. This grew into customized work for some of the biggest names in Country music.
Being a self-taught portrait artist has had its challenges, but with the help of other artists on YouTube and other media sources I am encouraged by them. I have no formal training from a prestigious art school, although I was courted by them in high school.
I have been married to my wife Erika for 13 years who supports me beyond I could imagine. We purchased a house last year that is only blocks from the High School I graduated from in 1990. This enabled me to have a larger studio and produce more art. I also have an amazing son whom I’m very proud of and a dog.
Thank you for visiting my website, I hope you enjoy it. But most of all, I hope you are inspired.