By Dawn Aerts
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–As a painter, Lawrence Laskowski is all about the vibrant, free-flow of color. Watercolor is his primary medium which allows him to play and yet express his imagination through the vivid, sometimes intense impressions found in natural landscapes as well as in animals — from raccoons and bison to purple cats and peacocks.
His landscapes are plush with rainbow themes.
“Inspiration always comes from my mind and heart as I take the brush and then, never really know how my work will turn out till the end,” said Laskowski, a studio artist whose early career focused on training programs for people with disabilities and as an instructor for American Sign Language and managing Relay services for the Deaf.
As a young student, Laskowski attended the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago where he focused entirely on watercolor, and later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts and in Psychology at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. “Art was always a surprising process to me,” said Laskowski, “I wasn’t afraid of using bold color, to experiment, so there was a free flow of paint with no restrictions.”
In the 1980s through the 1990s, his painting gave way to work in full-time programs for the disabled, program management at a private hospital and later with Relay Service for the Deaf in Chicago and later, for the Utah Association for the Deaf based in Salt Lake City.
It wasn’t until after 2006, and a move to Cedar City, that he turned his attention once more to watercolors and ink renderings. “I had done a few shows in Chicago in the past, but art was left on the ‘back burner’ for years when I worked at the corporate level,” said Laskowski. “I restarted my work in 2009 and then experimented with the medium that provided the most vibrant color.”
According to Laskowski, most of his support in fine art came from his grandfather Karl. “He was the one starting at a very young age who would say, ‘Come on Larry, let’s color or paint,’ so he paid for my early education in school and supported me when my parents couldn’t afford it.”
More recently, Laskowski served as President of the Southern Utah Watercolor Society and accepted a part time position as an after-school instructor for adults and elementary-aged students at Gateway Preparatory Academy while continuing to teach the American Sign Language.
“I tell all of my students to be creative, to use the image or subject, but art is not about structure. It is about the free flow of color and your imagination on paper; something you want to show and share — to paint your desire.”
As a former trainer, program manager and mentor for the deaf, Laskowski has continued to express what he calls his niche in painting. “I’m a humble guy so I let this art speak for itself. What’s important to me is how people respond. If they love the work, they take it home, hang it up, I’m happy.”
Caption: Lawrence Laskowski is a watercolor painter who displays his work at local events and in Art Walks throughout the year.