Artist Feature

Larry Reese: OUR West Country

Our final OUR West Country artist featured is Larry Reese.

Looking at Larry’s paintings, the viewer can see a focus on themes such as light, color, atmosphere, and landscape. His paintings are rich in colour and texture! Larry’s love of the landscape is evident in his work, with many images capturing stunning views of mountain ranges, rivers, and more.

Larry Reese, Eagle Mountain #1, 11×17, oil on canvas

You could almost step right into the scene he has created; Larry has certainly ‘set the stage’ of the eastern slopes landscape much like a theatre director sets the scene with actors and a stage. One observes the light reflecting off the rocks, or feels the wide expanse of the foothills. You can almost hear the river flowing thanks to the shapes and textures of the water. Peering into his paintings takes you away from your everyday life and makes you feel like you are present, on location inside the art – calm and at peace, surrounded by nature’s beauty.

“Although I’ve painted in many places around the world the Central Alberta landscape is at the core of my artistic being. I love to paint and while doing so I like to think I exist somewhere between a world of imagined truth and one of invention. My process involves a lot of time just staring at the canvas contemplating my next move. Which by the way makes me a poor plein air candidate because I don’t usually complete a painting on site. And that’s “just fine” says my painting buddy of over eighteen years, Dave More. Of course when we go painting he completes his second or third master piece (I’m not exaggerating) while I’m still contemplating putting another stroke or two on my under painting. Oh well, at the end of the day I often get enough information down on canvas to make my studio finished version as authentic as I can. And yes doing reference sketches and taking a photo or two helps me remember that authenticity…a bit. The rest, as I said, I invent.

Larry Reese painting outdoors

A favourite place to go plein air painting is in the foothills and mountains of our west country, mostly between Nordegg and the Banff/Jasper (Highway 93) turnoff. It’s a magical mystery tour every time I go. So, when approached to be a participant in this exhibition I was very excited, especially considering the talents of the other artists involved.

My thanks go out to Pat Matheson of the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, who encouraged me to have a look at the Ya Ha Tinda region, an area I had never even heard of before. What ensued was about a half dozen trips this summer resulting in quite a few paintings, some of which are included in this exhibition. I always find it an overwhelming challenge to express the sheer emotional power our glorious Rockies evoke, but I’ll keep trying.

Larry Reese, at the opening event for OUR West Country

Over the course of my career, I have practiced a number of disciplines including painting, acting/writing/directing for stage and screen, filmmaking, music performance/composition. Yeah I know, “Jack of all trades and a master of none.” However, I believe each discipline informs upon my choices, decisions and explorations of the other disciplines. Sure, you can call me “Jack,” just don’t try to stop me attempting another plein air landscape. Who knows, one of these times I might complete one…on site!

A final note: It’s disheartening to think that such a glorious region is being threatened by those who wish to exploit the non-renewable resources of our mountains. I hope my paintings might suggest a desire to make sure we preserve this gift of nature before it is irreversibly altered.”

-Larry Reese

Check out OUR West Country: Plein Air Painting in Alberta’s Eastern Slopes on display until March 12, 2022 and see Larry’s paintings in-person.

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