“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”
The current works of larry paul represent five experimental series utilizing two drawing styles. The two styles are described in further detail in The Artist’s Perspective section, below. Since December 2018, he has produced hundreds of art pieces referred to as numbered “experiments” using Prismacolor colored pencils, inks, and graphite. Much of his work derives from the outdoor and built environments, though subject matter and inspiration come from a collection of his original photographs taken since the 1970s, along with photographs taken during self-prescribed photographic exploration tours.
The Artist’s Perspective section, below, provides some detail as to the artist’s use of both Abstract Expressionism and Impressionistic Realism as his two primary styles. The five main series he currently works with, i.e., 1) thru-things; 2) Plants; 3) Anna Maria Island Sunsets; 4) Cortez Fishing Village; and 5) Abstract Angry Thematics incorporate both of these stylistic tendencies. Within the five main series, larry paul includes three sub-series focusing on a) the chaos of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter movement; b) the Philodendron plant; and c) the volcanoes of Hawai’i. The following discussion is meant to better understand how each series may be interpreted and fit into its respective style.
Series 1: thru-things®
The thru-things series presents an impressionistic realism quality focusing primarily on architectural openings. Both color and monotone drawings are considered. The preferred composition usually consists of offset or partial close-ups of decayed/aged elements and areas. Doors and windows that have been painted with vivid, yet now fading colors in real life are preferred subjects for drawing. Dark and light suggestive interior ghost shapes seen beyond the windows, or a door that may be ajar, are bonuses to the artwork in that they allow the observer to think about what activity is taking place, or not, or is hiding behind the full or partial opening.
Series 2: Plants
The subtle, yet complex character of the art found in the Plants series and sub-series presents an impressionistic realism quality that conjures up a purposeful realism, but without committing to any hyper-realism result. The overall composition includes highly-recognizable elements. For example, “Plant Exp 73”, found in the Gallery is a good example of this type of realism. Philodendrons, as its own sub-series, present an impressionistic realism quality focusing only on the philodendron leaf. Only monotone (b&w) drawings are currently created since the shadows and light created by the natural beauty and enormity of the philodendron leaf views more intriguing in a single color. According to the artist, the Philodendron leaf is “similar in its presence as the best human models of the Master’s.”
Series 3: Anna Maria Island Sunsets
Personal, yet open and outwardly expressive, the Sunsets series presents an abstract expressionistic quality with an overlapping and abutting color technique that contrasts and brings the movements together at the same time. The typical colors are easily inspired by a wild brilliance offered by the mix of sunsets, storms, and open, blue water. There is a rather “angry” application method in creating these artworks as noted in some frenzy of the pencil strokes, yet anger and calm can be appreciated together.
Series 4: Cortez Fishing Village
This series also presents an abstract expressionistic style that attempts to capture slightly tangible elements of traditional fishing village arrays. Strips of Scotch tape is sometimes added directly to the drawing surface for providing strange effects, and for capturing eraser debris that creates its own visual appeal when it is incorporated into the artwork. For example, the tape additions found in “Cortez Exp. 38”, and how the graphite and colored pencil coloring outlines them appear to reveal appropriately-placed fishing shacks. The beauty of a fishing village often combines its aged infrastructure with the beauty and color of sunsets and the water vessels that are found within them in what becomes a creatively expressed scene or seascape.
Series 5: Abstract Active “Angry” Thematics
This extremely bold series presents an abstract expressionistic style and is the earliest rigid Modernistic style for larry paul. The reference to these works as a form of “angry art” expressed on paper, perhaps result from the artist’s use of art and creativity as a form of therapy for autism. Subsequently, his method of attacking the blank drawing paper or Bristol board with eagerly awaiting pencils partially allows a free form of drawing where the composition is guided by the unsteady hand rather than the mind. However, the artist does admit that he feels an energy and sense of balance in letting the colors express themselves on the paper. Two sub-series are found within this series: one sub-series reflects the Black Lives Matter movement and the chaos of 2020. The volcanoes of the Big Island of Hawai’i are presented in the second sub-series, and are referred to as “HAVO” art pieces.
- B.A. in Liberal Arts from The University of the State of New York
- Master’s of Arts in Urban Design from the University of Florida
- Doctorate in Historic Preservation and Architecture from the University of Florida
- Member: Artist Guild of Anna Maria Island
The Artist's Perspective
larry paul’s abstract expressionistic drawings are more subjective and highly personal. They can be subjective and freer in providing deeper experiences from places of both high physical interest interacting with the right side of his mind. Though many of these abstract artworks are referred to as, esoterically speaking, “angry thematics,” the artist suggests a simpler eye-to-hand coordination that results when applying and removing texture without too much thinking. Regarding his application method, the artist offers that just like you can see the brush strokes in an oil painting, so can you see the strokes from the colored pencil and graphite media that he uses. The titles of the five current series, as well as, the two sub-series found within this style allow the observer to set a beginning framework to understand the artwork, and then follow with his/her own interpretation. There are often “hidden” icons in all of his artwork that lead toward the grouping of multiple titles in any individual piece.
larry paul suggests that his impressionistic style scenes use mostly mixed color blending, but highly modified by an erasure technique. It is this erasure that allows the artwork to reveal elements of negative space, reflected, and “thru” light.
The artist’s works in this style are fairly easy to understand, and have the quality of a good natural reading, however, fall short of any hyper or truer realism in that, while they can be visually congruous, reveal a softer, yet at the same time rougher texture to them that is unique to his personalized realism styling.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: Both styles reflect a dirty composition that leaves all details of the drawing process on the media surface. This way, the observer can see part of the process held in time of the drawing such as scale grids, notes, smudges, errors, tears, paper edges, etc. The full sheet of medium surface is also included and becomes part of the art. According to the artist, an artwork is truer and more complete when revealing these qualities instead of cleaning them up for final presentation. Erasure, irregular perspectives, and unusual compositions are important elements of each style that give his drawings a certain edginess and friction. The closer one looks, the more poignant this edginess reveals itself.
The artist uses a finely detailed and freestyle attack application method with bold and blended contrasting that allow the media to partially form its own two-dimensional texture as it is laid out according to a peculiar sense of perception, depth, tone, and balance. He refers to a “natural hand” with the media as it gives shape somehow by itself into recognizable form, and where the texture and final reveal just kind of do their own things.
larry paul cites both Roger Dean and John Nieto as early influences on his art.
The artist also has a fascination with the philodendron plant with its beautiful, complex and massive leaves, and its ability to afford depth of contrasting light and shadows. The essence of sunsets and volcanic skies are deeply inspired by frequent visits to Anna Maria Island and Cortez, Florida, or his gazing at the backdrop of the glowing Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i where he served as a ranger for Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Finally, his abstract active “angry” thematic drawing expressions can be interpreted in different ways by the observer and present bold, emotional movement, erratic and involved expressive tone, and strict color contrasting and overlapping.
Also, according to the artist, “artistic” balance can be a subjective gift that does not intend to constrain itself to accepted norms; instead, his own feeling of balance in a modernist, two-dimensional presentation serves as an amenity to his art that speaks well to both the craftsperson and casual observer. Often, a work’s imbalanced presentation is easily observed and critical to the piece.