Artist in Focus
Carl Frederick Lawrenson, (b.1949) grew up in Susquehanna, a small town in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania. He attended Mansfield State College from 1967 to 1971 majoring in art education. Since graduation he has spent much of his life teaching art, coaching basketball and painting in northern Tioga County, a rural area in the mountains of north central PA.
I remember drawing with pencil and painting with caked watercolor sets at around 4 or 5 years old. My earliest recollection of painting was on slabs of wood that were used to get a fire started in the coal furnace that heated our house. Of course they were all burned up. My father who was a barber by trade, also liked to draw and paint. He started buying me "Learn to Draw" sets when I was in grade school. Then he got me into oil painting at about the age of 12, having me paint on old white ceiling tiles that were in our attic.
I learned about acrylic paint as a freshmen in college and, at first, I didn't like them because they dried too fast for me. I couldn't work them and soften them like oils. But I gradually learned to paint in thin layers to achieve the effect that I wanted and the cleanup was easier so I stuck to the acrylics.
My original paintings are done with acrylic paint on Masonite hardboard sealed with gesso. I apply 2 coats of gesso on the back and 4 coats of gesso on the front. I sand in-between every coat and the last 2 coats I rake off with a trowel before sanding to push the gesso down into any small grooves left by the brush. After the final sanding I have a rock hard and very smooth surface to paint on, so that my visual textures and details show up without any interference from the substrate.
I am fortunate to have lived my life in one of the most beautiful areas of the Eastern United States which has inspired much of my work. However, I have also spent time hiking and gathering reference material in some of the most beautiful habitats from New Brunswick, Canada to the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania the Great Smoky Mountains, the Cherokee and Unicoi Mountains in Tennessee, and shores of the Florida panhandle.
Continuing to produce work forces you into selling.
I live right between the Fingerlakes region and the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon in the State forest lands of Pennsylvania. There is more inspiration here than could be painted in a lifetime.
Fred’s paintings have placed in several regional juried exhibits along with receiving 4 viewers choice awards. In addition, two of his paintings were selected for publication on full color calendars distributed throughout northern Pennsylvania in the late 1980’s. In 2003 Fred was juried into the World Nature Artist Group, AKA Artists for Conservation. He is also a juried Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan and a juried member of the Elmira Regional Art Society. His painting “Origins” was selected to the Paint America top 100 in 2007 and went on a national tour with the other selections throughout 2008.
He again made the Paint America Top 100 in 2010 with his painting “Tanglewood Touchdown” which was on tour throughout 2011. This painting also won the Palette Award at the ERAS exhibit presented at the Arnot Art Museum,in Elmira, NY, in December of 2012. In 2010 he published a children’s book, that He wrote and illustrated, titled “Shalock and the Cloud of Bad Dreams” which was a national finalist in the Best Book Awards competition for soft cover children’s fiction literature, sponsored by USA Book News. In 2012 Fred published his 2nd book, “In Search of the Great Wild Kawkins” which was also selected as a USA Best Book Awards national finalist. Both books can be purchased directly from the artist or at www.amazon.com.
Two more of his paintings “After the Rain” (created 2010) and “Abram’s Falls” (created 2014) were selected to the national “Paint the Parks” top 100 and went on a museum tour throughout 2015. Samples of his work may be viewed at: www.asaphwaterseditions.com or www.natureartists.com.
Fred's exhibit will be on view
July 1st - 31st at the Franklin Street Gallery.