Artist Profile: Larry Horowitz, Oil Painter
Larry Horowitz considers Joni Mitchell’s 1970 classic “Big Yellow Taxi” his anthem of sorts as an artist. With so much of the country paved and covered with buildings, the 61-year-old Wellfleet painter says he aims to showcase the beauty of the natural land in his work. “My paintings are a quiet place in a noisy world,” Horowitz says. “I’ve always felt an emotional connection to the land, and I’ve always appreciated natural things.”
Whether it’s the beaches of Wellfleet, the coast of California, the rural barns of Vermont, or the desert wildflowers of the Southwest, Horowitz—who has completed more than 6,000 paintings in a 40-year career—says he enjoys traveling all over the country to paint. After attending art school at the State University of New York, Purchase, Horowitz worked as an artist apprentice to painter Wolf Kahn in his native New York for six-and-a-half years—an experience he says was “tremendously influential.”
“In art school, you get an idea about what being an artist is, but it’s never really put together to you in the form of doing it as a career,” Horowitz says. “[Kahn’s] biggest influence on me was seeing how an acting artist lives and works, and realizing that I wanted to be that.”
Horowitz—who paints both en plein air and in his studio in oil, watercolor and pastel—likens some of his best paintings to Tiffany glass. “I love the idea of a painting almost having a light behind it and having the colors in the painting act like light and brightness,” he explains. Horowitz says his understanding of color nuance helps his paintings achieve their full potential. “When you get that iridescent quality in the sky, the painting takes on an otherworldly feeling.”
He can spend hundreds of hours on his larger pieces, like the impressionistic “Dappled sunlight in the woods,” which measures 63 x 77 inches. From working with physically demanding canvases like heavyweight linen and hemp, to using anything from a palette knife to a broom to achieve his desired texture, Horowitz says he places great value on “art and craft” in his paintings and telling “the story of the painting” through different surfaces.
“When you can see a section of a painting that’s not as heavily painted and see the actual linen and under-painting color,” Horowitz says, “it gives you an idea of the journey the painting’s been on.”