I am an MGAL Star Artist
Larry Hughes’ west-coast roots form the basis for much of his work. Concentrating on watercolor landscapes, each year he works plein air in western locales. These field sketches done from remote wilderness trails form the basis for larger studio works. In recent years, Larry has been selected as Artist in Residence at six National Parks and Monuments (Guadalupe Mountains NP, Texas, 2014; Petrified Forest NP, Arizona, 2015; Zion NP, Utah, 2016; Mesa Verde NP, Colorado, 2017; Bandelier NM, New Mexico, 2018; and Yellowstone NP, Wyoming, 2019 [and again in 2020, canceled due to pandemic]). These competitive positions are highly prized because they provide in-Park housing and support, allowing for total immersion in artwork for up to 4 weeks. The painting subject is often right out the front door! Not surprisingly, these residencies have yielded a huge number of designs, happily waiting to be realized in the studio.
Larry grew up as an annoying kid in California. Annoying because every family summer vacation was continually interrupted by his desire to sketch the trees, the fallen logs and waterfalls, state capitols, observatories, lizards, anything that captured his fancy. Fortunately, he had accommodating parents who indulged his passion to draw and paint.
Upon entering college, Larry encountered his own interruption in his art career – the need to eat. That meant a job, and not in art. He got his degree in geophysics and was soon working in the field all across the western United States. While this provided for food, Larry hungered for something deeper. Although a confirmed agnostic, there was a hole in his life that even art could not fill. Amidst a life of despair, he began to consider the scientific case for Jesus Christ, and after a decade of skeptical research, committed his life to Christ. That transforming event not only gave him purpose and hope, but also made a vital artistic connection of Creator-to-Creation-to-Creativity.
That connection has led to Larry’s commitment to wilderness conservation, expressed through art. Amidst the encroachment of ‘civilization’ and the relentless usurpation of natural environments, Larry argues that nature is not a commodity to be crassly exploited; it is a gift from God, and in that sense is sacred. If so, it needs to be valued and preserved for future generations. In Teddy Roosevelt’s terms, leave it alone: man can only mar it. Within the past decade this effort has led Larry to art residencies at national parks, where he has taught watercolor classes to park visitors. Beyond teaching the basics of brushes and paint, he strives to help tourists slow down, put the pixel guns away, and truly see the beauty of the natural world. One connection at a time, Larry hopes this will build advocates for preservation of our great natural treasures.