Picturing Evanston

Rob Larson

What brought you to Evanston?
Julie and I wanted to raise a family in a place where our children would have a great education and vibrant community experience. We found Reba Place Church in South Evanston to be a community where we could thrive because the neighborhood was racially integrated, encouraged simple living and many neighbors (and families) wanted to do life together. 

How does your environment inform your art?
The light and expanse of Lake Michigan informs my painting. There are shades of blues, turquoises, greens, purples, pinks, yellows, sepias that I notice continually. I ride my bike almost everyday in Evanston and I notice all the flowering trees and gardens. I love the historic and modern architecture. I love the raised train tracks and the bridges that create a continuous play of light along the walls. All of this impacts my visual field and I pull from this intuitively when I paint. 

What is your medium?
Oil paint on canvas  

Describe your art, in a hundred words or less.
I am inspired by nature. I paint landscapes because they are a refuge for my heart, mind and soul. I’m renewed and refreshed when I contemplate their beauty. As a painter, I love the challenge of capturing the look and feel of a place with a loaded brush of paint.  


What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on a series of paintings inspired by Yosemite National Park 

Name one piece of art, by any artist, that blew your mind or otherwise inspired you.
I'm blown away by a piece of music: Metamorphosis I-V by Phillip Glass 

Why art?
Painting has a way of helping us meditate on nature and raise our awareness of beauty. This renewed sense of wholeness inherent in nature can help us accept ourselves and others in radical ways. A good painting has the power to get us out of our heads and in touch with our heart. An artist can rekindle our spirits to live in new and experimental ways. By celebrating nature and the light that is all around us we can begin to see how the ground under our feet is sacred, a place of abundant life.