Born to paint
At age 59, local painter Steven Larson is just beginning to hit his stride
Argus Leader published: 07/26/07
Artist Steven Larson is influenced by nature. Many of his paintings are based on Blue Mound State Park settings. Larson's paintings can be found at the Horse Barn Art Center.
(Emily Spartz / Link)
Steven Larson lives to paint.
Some of his works are the size of a square penny. Others are as large as a bedroom wall.
Lately, Larson has been working on up to 20 pieces at a time. His style is hard to categorize. He uses stippling to create many images, but sometimes, he's putting dots on dots on dots to get an almost glass bead-like effect from his acrylic paints.
But there are also his lines.
Sometimes the lines are packed in complex tight patterns. Other times they're swirly and loose in a foreground. From a distance, many look like landscapes, grasses and flowers. And others are intense geometric studies that can draw your eye in, while a few are fantasy worlds with vivid-colored plants reaching for, perhaps, an alien sky.
A fan of his work, Chuck Holmes of Dell Rapids, likens Larson's work to the late Swiss painter modern artist Paul Klee art. A famous saying about Klee is how the artist "takes his lines for a walk."
The artist himself may seem quirky to some: Larson doesn't own a car - he usually rides his bike, or the city's buses if the winter weather acts up.
He's a licensed lay minister, but no longer practices,
" ... because I'm painting, and I think God wants me to do this," Larson says.
Part-time work eats into his painting time - he's administrative assistant at the Sioux Empire Arts Council, spending days at the Horse Barn Arts Center in Falls Park.
But that's convenient, too, because his studio is in the first level of the historic building. Stop by and watch him work.
Raised on a farm east of Dell Rapids, he's a former social worker and therapist who didn't start painting until age 43. Today, at age 59, painting is nearly all he can think about, and something he does late into the night.
Sioux Falls artist Dee Dwight, who calls herself "Steven's biggest fan," is helping him ease into the market to get his work in front of people, and for sale.
On a recent afternoon at the Horse Barn, she was helping him get pieces ready for a show now up at Michelle's coffee house. Dwight calls Larson "prolific," and says that his images are both stimulating and relaxing at the same time.
Overhearing her comments, Larson says, "Like Andy Warhol, maybe I should just keep doing it until they decide they want it."
Dwight can't stop her enthusiasm, describing Larson's images as "fascinating" and "fresh, something unique and different," holding up piece after piece, observing that they are touching somewhere between reality and abstract.
Packing up artwork to take to his exhibit, he stops to look closely at pieces he finished the night before.
"Something is happening now," Larson says. "I'm evolving. Is it God? Or spirits? Maybe just spiritual. Come and see. There are a lot of dream images."
Reach reporter Jay Kirschenmann at 331-2312 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Steven: email@example.com
See more of Steven’s art: http://www.dwightfinearts.com