Eye on the West
This story was featured in the June 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art June 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art June 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Ann Larsen lives in the East, but part of her artistic heart belongs to the West. The New York-based artist creates works that often display her love of the West’s monumental natural wonders. And she is equally at home portraying a few of the region’s man-made creations. Last year while driving through Ely, NV, a historic train depot dating from the town’s mining days caught her eye. She stood on the station’s platform and created ELY RELICS, a work depicting a remnant of a bygone era. The painting was juried into the Outdoor Painters Society’s annual plein-air show, held in April at Southwest Gallery in Dallas, TX. Her work was juried into the same show in 2012 and won a top prize.
To demonstrate her commitment to the West, Larsen has become a member of two western plein-air groups—the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association in Southern California. For Larsen, plein-air work is all about capturing a sense of place and the transitory nature of a scene’s atmosphere. She is concerned with light and the way illumination creates mood. “We don’t get much sun in New York, and because changing light is what entices me, I am especially attracted to the West. I am always trying to get away from the literal and paint the feeling and depth I see in the landscape,” she says. “I am trying to convey a feeling of time and place. I want someone to feel like they are there with me.”
When winter comes and Larsen is ensconced at home in New York, she often devotes studio time to still-life paintings such as HYDRANGEAS—a work inspired by a bouquet of flowers from an artist friend.
Larsen first studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design and later graduated with a fine-arts degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. But she notes that it was classes with Kim English at the Art Students League of Denver that had the most impact on her fine-art career. “Those classes opened my eyes, and I started painting more outdoors,” she says. “It was the first time I was around a serious professional artist, and after that I started painting daily.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the June 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art June 2013 digital download
Southwest Art June 2013 print issue
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