Larry Davis

Knoxville, USA

philosophy student turned full-time artist

Color matters! It’s everywhere around us, yet it is wholly dependent for its effects by whatever different color happens to be next to it.

Larry Davis – abstract artist!

My main artistic interest centers on the exploration of subtle color and tonal relationships, gestural marks and complex paint surfaces across a range of subject matter. I maintain a comparable inclination for both objective and nonobjective approach.

At what age did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I cannot recollect a time when I wasn’t fascinated by making paintings and drawings. Like most every five year old, I thought it was great to create whole worlds of my own. I’ve just always thought of myself as an artist.
What is the earliest artwork you did that you can remember?
By the time I was in Kindergarten my classmates were already asking me to make drawings of buildings and animals for them. Some of those images came from trips to my grandfather’s farm.
Which classical or contemporary artists have inspired you?
In my early experience as a Realist I took great pleasure in the likes of Thomas Eakins and Thomas Dewing. Then, as my style turned towards more modern approaches, I developed a high regard for painters like Pierre Bonnard, and Richard Diebenkorn, and sculptors like Lee Bontecou.  I considered all of them as wonderful sources for color and design.
How would you describe your artistic style?
My current abstracted style is based on a great desire for subtle color relationships, gestural lines and marks that indicate motion, rich surface textures owing to the combination of oil and cold wax medium, and, finally, to ambiguous subjects that allow for multiple interpretations by the viewer.
When did you first sell an artwork? How did you feel?
When one has painted for over sixty years, one has long since forgotten their first sale. However, I do seem to recollect winning a cash prize when I was still in middle school.
What's your workstyle? Do you work on one piece at a time or work simultaneously on multiple pieces?
My studio is lined with works in progress. Mysteriously, they often take six months or more before, one day, they suddenly tell me the last addition or subtraction required  for their completion.
How do you get the inspiration for a new piece?
Often, one work will be the inspiration for next of its same approach, but fundamentally, my inspirations spring from five decades of figure drawing, and similar time spent observing other sources of nature’s design, like flora and fauna and the landscapes in which they reside.
Tell us a bit about your personal life ...
I am a retired Professor of Art, who, along with my wife, enjoy travel, reading, and a broad range of music, from Mozart to the Eagles.
My art is inspired by an eclectic list of factors as diverse as Canadian Shield geology and Arabesque dancers. The decades of figure drawing have encouraged  gestural lines that find their way into many of my drawn and painted subjects. At this stage of my career, I also find that pursuit of complex color relationships has become an overriding interest.

A few pieces from Larry Davis’s gallery

Market Day


More about Larry Davis

Shows & Exhibitions


“Color Matters – Larry J. Davis’ Abstractions”, WCI Arts Center, Macomb, IL, 2017

“Abstracted Paintings by Larry J. Davis”, Buchanan Center for the Arts, Monmouth, IL, 2017

“Inspired by Nature – Dwight Crane & L.J.Davis”, Contemporary Art Center, Peoria, IL, 2016

“Galex National Juried Exhibition”, GCAC, Galesburg, IL, 2013-2017 (1st place: $1000 Blick

   Purchase Award, 2016

“Works by Larry Jon Davis”  Carl Sandburg Community College, Galesburg, IL, 2015

“Parallel Views-Works by L.J.Davis and Debora Stewart”, Quad Cities Arts, Rock Island, IL,     2015

“Works in Glass & Oil by Larry Jon Davis and Michelle Hamilton”, GCAC, Galesburg, IL, 2015

“79th Annual National Exhibition” Cooperstown Art Association, Cooperstown, NY, 2014

   Canson Excellence in Arts Award

“Watercolor USA 2014″ Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO, 2014

“Abstracted Paintings by Debora Stewart & Larry J Davis” River Arts Center, Clinton, IA, 2014

“Works by Larry Jon Davis” Iowa Hall, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, IA, 2014

“Now & Then-Paintings by Larry J Davis” Blick Gallery- GCAC, Galesburg, IL, 2013

“Illinois State Fair-Professional Artist Division” Springfield, IL, 2013  (2nd Award: Drawings/


“Recent Abstractions on Paper by Larry J Davis” FSCJ South Gallery, Jacksonville, FL, 2013