Those seeking a place of calm serenity, a shelter from the storms of daily life can find the respite they are looking for by visiting the Anna Bier Gallery where Richard Lathrop’s lovely work is currently on display.
The artist finds that his paintings provide the outlet that he needs to fully express himself, and his work uniquely and profoundly communicates with others. Inviting landscapes fill the gallery walls, not only demonstrating Richard’s love for the simple beauty of rural scenes but also creating an inviting space for solemn introspection or joyful meditation.
Currently a Preble County resident, Richard and his wife Debbi, who also has won accolades for her paintings, will soon be moving to their new home near Connersville, Indiana, Debbi’s family’s home-place. Attracted by the nearness of family and a strong art community, the appeal of seductive skies and proximity to Brookville Lake enhance the couple’s excitement surrounding their move. Memorable skies are especially attractive to Richard, as he experiments with color and technique to evoke the wonder he sees there.
Many of the works exhibited are scenes illustrating winter, which the Richmond, Indiana native somewhat surprisingly finds much more colorful than spring or summer. “Good Morning,” the artist’s personal favorite among the pieces on display, provides a beautiful example of that belief, as the plethora of colors filling the winter sky illuminates and is reflected in the snow-covered ground below.
“Spring House” depicting the eponymous old stone structure casting a stark shadow and “Fall Back Road” showing the road cutting through a lush woods stand out on the gallery walls due to their lack of color. Rendered in graphite, the drawings manage to convey warmth in spite of being black and white. Richard explains that when he first began to follow his artistic urges, he struggled to buy supplies; however, paper and pencil were always readily available. His love for and extensive use of pastels, a dry medium like graphite, is tribute to the drawing skills honed in those early years.
Another of the artist’s personal favorites, “Yellow Fields, Grayville, Illinois,” uses dots of yellow to happily enhance a rural field, inspiring delight in the viewer. However, even in his traditional work, Richard says that he likes to break the rules, using his imagination to bring enchanting peaceful scenes into being. As he continues to observe, investigate and analyze, the constant scholar is moving to more work using oils; his expanding mastery of the medium is stunningly demonstrated in the only oil painting in this show,“October Sunlight,” a somewhat Impressionistic landscape with sunlit trees and foliage reflected in a sun-dappled creek. The painter continues to grow and develop, broadening his media to not only include oils but also the acrylics that he uses as he creates abstract art which gives vent to his views on the current state of the world.
“New Residents” entices exploration not only because of its subject matter, but also because it holds a secret. The viewer is lured to closely examine a stately old house in an obvious state of decline to discern who those new residents might be; and the answer is revealed to those who seek. The house and its grounds became a rich source of material for Richard, with several of his works spotlighting the trees and other attractions of the property.
“Seated Dancer,” the only portrait included in the exhibit, shows a woman in classic ballet-practice attire as she gracefully stretches, aptly illustrating her ability to perform lyrical movements even while grounded. However, Richard believes that drawing figures limits his creativity; he prefers to convey the effects of special lighting on landscapes—backlit trees, colorful skies, twilight time, reflections—as he captures the unbounded beauty he finds around him.
Richard Lathrop’s alluring work remains on display in the Anna Bier Gallery through Oct. 15. The gallery, located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville, is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., and prior to performances at the Hall. To view the art at other times, contact Anna Bier Gallery Director Marcia Weidner at 937-417-3497.