“Entangled”, 10×20, Oil, Winner of an Award of Excellence at the 2019 NOAPS ‘Best of America’ Small Painting Exhibit in Fredericksburg, Texas. Collection of the Artist.
Nature is persistent in her quest to reclaim what was hers…the artist tells the story of that which is forgotten by man, but repossessed by nature. The artist’s hand has created a solid composition from the chaos of growth within an harmonious color scheme. He has left to us the mystery of what lies beneath, the element of discovery.
“Bridge on Silver Creek”, 12×24, Oil, Collection of the Artist.
Larry DeGraff has been an active artist since childhood; his first renderings took on a look a realism even as a boy. Urged on by his early instructor/ mentor, Darral Dishman, Dean of Art at Missouri Southern State University, DeGraff kept up his training through classes at the Kansas City Art Institute, books and easel time. His early work in illustration landed him a position at a design studio, then later a greeting card artist for Hallmark Cards.
“Jewel of the Niangua”, 12×12, Oil, Private Collection
Inspired by Impressionist artists such as Monet, Cezanne, William Merritt Chase and others, DeGraff has pursued a range of genres; loose plein air landscapes to the more realistic figure work. His painting, “The Potter”, was inspired by his desire to create paintings of people who are themselves in the act of creating. The focused concentration, the play of light and shadow, and the strong composition create a compelling narrative.
“The Potter”, 18×14, Oil, Juried into the 2019 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit, Montgomery Lee Fine Art, Park City, Utah.
DeGraff is drawn mostly to scenes of nature; “dramatic scenery that ‘declares God’s handiwork’, and suggests something higher than everyday existence”. Rural scenes of mountains, skies, clear streams and vanishing landscapes stimulate the soul of this artist to create visions for others to contemplate.
“Summer Shadows”, 11×14, Oil, Collection of the Artist.
The artist starts the day with prayerful meditation, which helps to create a sense of peace and humility. His palette consists of soft mixing white, cadmium lemon yellow, cadmium yellow medium, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, cadmium red medium, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, viridian green and ivory black. His supports are gessoed canvas and linen, using synthetic hog bristle flats and filberts. He enjoys plein air painting, and emphasizes the value of painting from life; “plein air painting has taught me how to see the light, color and values of the natural world in a way that photography can’t”.
His experience has taught him that his own unique style, his vision and the way he paints it is of value to the world; in his words, “there is a lot of pressure out there for artists to conform to whatever the latest trend is. You can’t avoid all of this, but make sure that you are choosing the influences that you like…the world needs your uniqueness in making the best paintings you can. ”
Larry DeGraff is the Juror of Awards for the 2019 NOAPS Fall Online International Exhibit. To view more of Larry’s work visit www.larrydegraff.com. His work is represented by: The Rice Gallery, Overland Park, KS; Studio 8369, Grand Lake, CO; Cherry’s Fine Art in Carthage, MO; Mary Williams Fine Art, Boulder, CO; Gallery Augusta, Augusta, MO.
Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director