Artist Mark Larson paints sweeping canvases that convey his love of nature, earth and wildlife. Visit his website to see more of his oil paintings.
Nature, and our relationship to it, has been a lifelong source of fascination to me. One of my earliest memories as a ten year old boy is throwing a couple of duck decoys over my shoulder, and riding my bike with hip boots on to a nearby marsh so I could sneak up on some mallards just to observe them.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen how nature has been both helped and exploited by mankind. This dialectic is now a driving force in my work.
Although my early drawings and watercolors reflected a focus on straightforward realism, it wasn’t until I finished my bachelors in painting, drawing and printmaking at Portland State University that I was challenged to explore my inner landscape and find my true voice.
This, combined with travels abroad to Italy, turned my visual world upside down. Images of nature were suddenly transformed with classical architecture, symbolism and a bit of surrealism.
I settled on oil paint as a medium, using traditional supports like canvas and panel, because of its buttery richness and its ability to convey grand ideas.
I love to paint huge canvases. My recent series of large environmental-themed canvases are as large as five by seven feet. These large works have a power about them when seen in person, and it’s a great feeling when someone falls in love with them and I get to see them hung. For me, life doesn’t get much more rewarding than that.
I do also paint smaller works for their immediacy and pleasure in creating them. As a printmaker, I will soon be starting a new series of small dry points that will hopefully be the impetus for larger works as well.
My goal as an artist is to instill a sense of wonder and mystery, and ask questions that might help people see our connection to the natural world and to each other in a fresh new way.
Perhaps if we become more aware of how we each have a role in influencing the world around us, we can avoid making some of the mistakes of the past.
One can only hope.