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Mountain Home Magazine

A Full-Color World

Jul 31, 2017 03:17PM

“I wouldn’t be painting if it weren’t for my dad,” says Fred Lawrenson, who recalls spending his childhood creating various art projects with his father. “Most parents read to their children every night. Well, my dad drew pictures for me. Every year, for my birthday or Christmas, my father would get me a learn-to-draw-set and he would increase the difficulty of the set with each passing holiday. When I was about twelve, my dad bought me some oil paints and an easel and we started painting pictures together on old ceiling tiles we dragged out and he would show me how to use the brushes.”

Carl Frederick Lawrenson, whose work will be exhibited at Mountain Home Art Gallery in August, has lived in Elkland, Pennsylvania, most of his life. Born a little further south, in Susquehanna, in 1949, he spent a lot of his childhood outside playing in the woods behind his home, which was his initial inspiration for painting wildlife scenes. He has been painting since he was five.

Fred attended Mansfield State College from 1967 to 1971, majoring in art education. He put that education to use teaching art at Cowanesque Valley High School, where he also coached basketball and, of course, made time for painting. He and his photographer wife, Holly, raised four children—David, Neva, Erin, and Kristin; they have nine grandchildren and one on the way. He is retired from teaching now, but not from painting or other creative endeavors.

Fred is a prolific artist, and has created more than sixty paintings throughout his lifetime. He says the process for each is a couple of months, depending on the scene. His best estimate is 180 to 200 hours per painting. His medium is acrylic, a paint he discovered way back when while a student at Mansfield.

Fred’s paintings have earned accolades across the country and given him recognition among his peers. He is a Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan and a juried member of the Elmira Regional Art Society. In the 1980s, two of Fred’s paintings were selected for publication on calendars distributed throughout the state. His work has also placed in several regional juried exhibits and earned four viewer’s choice awards. In 2007, his painting Origins was selected to the Paint America Top 100. Other selections of his toured throughout 2008. In 2010, he again made the Paint America Top 100 list with Tanglewood Touchdown, which was on tour throughout 2011.

In addition to overseeing his paintings’ travels, 2010 proved to be a busy year for Fred, who, with the help of his daughter, published a children’s book.

“That book was inspired by my daughter Erin, who was afraid of sleeping in her room alone, until we were in State College and bought her a stuffed lion, which she named Shalock,” Fred explains. Shalock and the Cloud of Bad Dreams, which Fred illustrated, was the literary result.

In 2012, he published his second book, In Search of the Great Wild Kawkins. Both of those were USA Best Book Award finalists.

His most recent book, All The Difference, showcases most of his paintings and gives a brief explanation of how they came to be. All The Difference gives readers the opportunity to see, through Fred’s eyes, the beauty of nature.

Aside from putting scenes from the local area onto canvas, Fred has done some travelling and painted those views as well. After the Rain and Abrams Falls were selected to the national Paint the Parks Top 100 and were also on tour throughout 2015 and 2016. After the Rain was inspired by a 2010 summer hike on the Appalachian Trail with Fred’s daughter Kristin and her husband Stewart. Abrams Falls is in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in eastern Tennessee.

“I love the wild places, the places you have to make an effort to see,” writes Fred in All The Difference.

One particular place Fred and his family love is the Asaph area; they visit it as many chances as they get. He calls his business Asaph Waters Editions. Meet Fred at our First Friday open house on August 4, from 5 to 8 p.m.