Brief Bio of Larry Lewis
Larry has enjoyed painting since his early days when he served in the Canadian military and was stationed in Germany. On weekends, he would often be found visiting Dusseldorf and Frankfurt galleries when not sampling wonderful European beers and wines in the company of fellow officers. After several years he decided to return to university life and pursue doctoral studies in psychology followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
During the mid-1970’s, he practiced clinical psychology and on a part-time basis taught a university course in abnormal psychology. Shortly after this pivotal teaching experience, he joined the faculty of psychology at a university in Atlantic Canada as a full time lecturer and eventually became a tenured professor and Dean of Students.
During this time he was interested in promoting public understanding of mental health issues as well as conducting laboratory research on visual perception and meaning. He served as a clinical researcher on the Le Dain Commission of Inquiry into the non-medical use of drugs and was a member of the scientific advisory council of the Canadian Mental Health Association. He often appeared on local television shows discussing a wide array of phenomena and offering analyses of such topics as the inner workings of serial killers…to the effects of a solar eclipse on behaviour. After years of teaching and academic administration, he left university life and returned to clinical practice.
He is a past member of the American Psychological Association (APA).
In later years he led a team of consultants who provided management education programs and leadership training to managers in healthcare and community services throughout Ontario. During all this time, Larry continued to pursue image making as a weekend painter and photographer.
In 2003, he retired from the health care field but not before exiting with a strongly renewed interest in visual arts. Having travelled frequently to Mexico to visit family and also exploring major European and North American cities, he continued to enjoy browsing through grand national art galleries as well as out of the way lesser known ones. While visiting Paris’ majestic Musée d'Orsay, he was struck by 19th century impressionism which continues to be a significant influence in his work.
In February, 2004, Larry first showed a limited body of paintings that received encouraging reviews. When asked, he refers to his style as realistic impressionism, which emphasizes an art form that is not so much an attempt at creating a photographic image, but projects a form that retains a significant element of structural realism. He attempts to offer a visual experience of shapes, colour and composition involving imagery that is inviting and relaxing if not restorative. In eliminating unnecessary details, and using painterly means of expression, he makes each visual work his own interpretation of reality. Larry enjoys quoting Renoir who so succinctly said …” there is enough ugliness in the world … it is not necessary to make more of it”.
Larry strives to adapt his disciplined training in psychology to drawing and composition. His impressionist eye for shapes, colour and design aids him in creating works that will give observers a sense of joy and a view of the world often more hopeful than sometimes exists. His wish is that viewers of his works will become perceptually engaged and begin to examine something of their own experience in relation to the resulting images.
Many of his recent works may be seen in the chapel and library of Toronto Western Hospital.
Most recently, he could be found regularly sketching dancing students at the The National Ballet of Canada as they train and practice.
Larry pursued visual art studies with the late George Dingli (Toronto architect/artist) as well as at the Art Gallery of Ontario and at the Adult Art Program of Central Technical School. In recent years, he has held memberships in the Portrait Society of Canada; the Society of Canadian Artists; the Forest Hill Art Studio; the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
In the belief that there is a strong relationship between visual arts and music, Larry began formal studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in 2010. He has performed in the Glen Gould Studio (with a band) and at Harbourfront Centre. For several years, he played clarinet in the "New Horizons Band" as well as with a group of musicians calling themselves "THE POSSE". Currently he enjoys practicing weekly and occasionally performing with a small ensemble at a lake front venue.
Balancing music and painting is not easy. It remains to be seen how this may influence his future work.
Like many painters, music always fills his studio.
Larry was honoured as a recipient of the Province of Ontario's distinguished service award for his contribution to the volunteer sector.
He lives quietly at Harbourfront by the Ferry Docks in downtown Toronto.
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