Jeffrey T. Larson is a painter and founder of the Great Lakes Academy of Art, located in the former St. Peter’s Church, 810 W. Third St. Larson has been working and teaching a classical style of painting in that location since 2015. There will be a student-instructor exhibit at the school May 24-26. Larson talks about his classical training and how working and teaching fit together for him.
JTL: I was fortunate to have found and be accepted into one of the last ateliers (studios) left in the world taking on apprentices and training them in the manner of the old masters. It was a sort of visual Julliard. I work pretty exclusively in oil paints. The tradition that I studied in is really more about retraining your eye to see nature honestly and truthfully as it is about learning how to paint. My style is really my reaction to what I see as beautiful filtered through my personal aesthetics. More simply put, I would call myself a classical impressionist.
I began my training while still in high school. I studied there for four years graduating in 1984 and have been painting professionally ever since.
What are the challenges and rewards of doing what you do?
I get to do what I love everyday. The harder and smarter I work the faster I improve and after over thirty-five years I’m just beginning to start to figure a little bit of it out. I will never be bored. I’ve been fortunate to travel and meet so many wonderful and fascinating clients, collectors and fellow artists. The challenges are all those you would imagine. The first ten years living the starving artist lifestyle which isn’t too bad until you have kids. An artist wears many hats, creating the work is more than a full-time job and just the beginning if it is your profession. Add to that the business side with framing, marketing, selling, shows … and the days are never long enough.
How does teaching influence your work?
It forces me to articulate what I do naturally more instinctually. This offers a much more objective view in evaluating my process and quite often leads to better solutions. It is also wonderful to be interacting and sharing what I’ve learned with a group of enthusiastic young people, who are hungry to learn.
Where can people see your work?
Announcements will be made for gallery/museum exhibitions.
Occasional shows at my school: Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art. These are posted on the school’s website: greatlakesacademyoffineart.com
Facebook: Jeffrey T. Larson Studios – artist page
What do you have coming up?
We are just finishing up our third year here at GLAFA. Our student/instructor spring exhibit is May 24th-26th. We continue working to get the word out to potential students nation-wide that we accept 3-4 students a year into the full-time program. We also offer a wide selection of evening part-time classes. We pass on the same information as the full-time students receive but tailored to artists of all levels, from the beginner who has never held a brush to the seasoned pro. I am also working with the Tweed in creating alternating biennials that will feature some of the very finest living painters.
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