"Art, both its creation and the experience of enjoying it, is a wonder that can heal the soul. As a landscape painter, I feel a closeness to my environment, and if my art can help people to connect in a deep and meaningful way to the beauty of our natural world, they will have a greater desire to protect and preserve them. All of my art is meant for such an outcome, and I feel a great satisfaction when someone feels something from my art." —Ron Larson
Why I Paint
Ron Larson paints what he feels. With an art career spanning 40+ years, his philosophy is that everything presents itself as art.
"Sometimes I use the bold colors of oil, and sometimes the softer feel that watercolor offers, but always finding contrasts, where there are deep, dark shadows and striking reflections of light. I spend my time in nature looking for places that speak to me, that give me a special feeling of peace and beauty. I usually don’t know when or where the feeling will come, and at times I have thought I was going to do an oil painting, but found nothing would work until I focused on doing a watercolor instead. Then, as everything would come together, I would know the timing was right for that particular art to be revealed."
Art as the Teacher
An example of how art reveals itself can be shown by the story of the painting "Wisdom."
"This piece is entitled “Wisdom” and is the portrayal of an old and weathered aspen tree, its leafless branches reaching skyward. Every time I saw that tree, I thought of how it represents our lives and the kinds of trials we go through. Anyone is able to gain knowledge at any time, but it is only through trials and experiences that we can gain wisdom, and those experiences always leave markings on each of us.
"The idea for this painting first came on a camping trip with my family. The tree stands near the spot of the same camp site my family has used for years; both my father and grandfather had been taking us there since we were children. I kept looking at that tree, which had been standing for many years, watching us grow up. It has withstood the elements of time, which have created its shape and look, leaving it worn, wrinkled and somewhat scarred. It has now begun to wither and die, its branches twisted, its bark drying out and peeling, its life cycle complete. The tree reminds me of my grandparents and parents completing their life cycles, leaving behind the teachings gained from their experiences. When I painted the tree, it felt right to do so, and I knew that “Wisdom” had to be the title of the painting."
Ron’s art has been purchased by people and groups from all over the world, and Ron attributes his success to teachers, fellow artists, friends, collectors, and of course, art-lovers everywhere. Ron feels that the best compliments he has ever received have been the couple of times when someone has been moved to tears when viewing his work. He laughs and says he always asks, "what -- it's that bad?"
Ron explains why he paints the Southwest:
"As a young person growing up in Utah, my family spent a lot of time camping, hiking and exploring all over the Southwest. I grew to love the variety and beauty that it held, and I have always been the most fascinated by it. The colors, rocks, sand, vegetation, animals -- even the smell of the desert is compelling and made a lasting impression on me and I have become a part of it."
Ron's Current Activities:
Ron has been in numerious juried shows throughout the United States, and has won myriad awards and recognitions. His current activities include the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park Plein Air Invitationals, and having six paintings chosen by Utah universities in the public art calls. Ron's latest project was an 18-month solo show at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Northern Arizona, "Vistas and Visions of the Colorado Plateau." The Exhibit featured approximately 45 of his paintings, a looping powerpoint, and the work-in-progress building of an interpretive book, explaining the geography, history, anthropology, geology, biology and archeology of the Colorado Plateau - and also highlighting his art. The Vistas and Visions Exhibit then made its Utah debut in Salt Lake City. It then traveled to Southern Utah, with more traveling expected in the future. It is expected that the print version of his book documenting this 20-year artistic odyssey along with semi-autobiographical glimpse into Ron's 45 years of painting will be published in early 2023.
Ron's style is big and brushy and often his paintings are very large. A project he has just completed is a 9 feet x 6 feet painting of Bryce Canyon's epic landscape.
"The Colorado Plateau evokes a sense of mystery and wonder, majestic in its grandeur and stark in its extremes. As a landscape painter, I feel a closeness to my environment. Art can help people to connect in a deep and meaningful way to the beauty of our natural world, so hopefully they will have a greater desire to protect and preserve it."
This painting is typical of how Ron has felt about his experience painting the Colorado Plateau. Aptly named The Wonder of It All, it is a 40"x30" oil painting of Ron's wife, Miken, looking up in amazement at canyon walls that seem to soar forever into the sky. It was on a morning just after sunrise in Navajo Canyon of Lake Powell. Ron painted it as a surprise for her and presented it on Valentine's Day. She loved it!!!