Lawrence Philp: the curious painter

I’ve reposted this from the Observer

Date: July 2, 2014

by: Shanna Fortier | Community Editor

Lawrence Philp stood in the studio space of his garage pulling small canvases out of storage cubbies. Each piece he pulled produced a different color pallet and a variety of objects protruding from the pancake-mix-thick paint that surrounds them. The small space in which he produces these small works allows just enough space for one person to stand and move in one direction.

Philp, who has lived in Palm Coast since 1997, creates two kinds of work: acrylic paint on canvas and mixed media constructions. He has been doing these smaller works for the past four or five years, but has more than 40 years of painting experience.

“I’m not so much experimental, but I’m curious,” Philp said of his process. “I like making stuff, so I just make them until I’m finished.”

For Philp, “finished” generally takes about two months. A lot of the work he does involves setting canvases up side by side and working them simultaneously. He looks at how the edges align and works them, and reworks them until all the canvases look like different paintings.

“I don’t want to have a conglomerate of the same thing,” he said. “I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a camera and photographing the entire wall. I take them out, look at them, put them back and move them around until I find a theme.”

He does this with 25 or 26 canvases until that theme runs out. If it doesn’t look like something Philp wants to be around, he covers it up and starts reworking from scratch.

Philp said his inspiration draws from the surrealists and the abstract expressionists, but his real inspiration comes from getting up every morning and squeezing out some paint.

In the past year, Philp has shown work at Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center and Visual Arts Gallery three times and also has work in a group exhibition at Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. But he has been part of more than 70 shows in his career as an artist.

“His work is very spontaneous,” said Weldon Ryan, who curates the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center and Visual Arts Gallery with his wife, Richlin. “It seems like it is effortless, but his use of colors is very exciting — it’s fresh — it leaves an ease for your eyes.”

When thinking about being an artist, Philp said he is brought back to an interview he saw with award-winning post-minimalist Richard Tuttle, who said, “Artists, they’re from nature, they come out of nature, they’re like the clouds that just happen.”

“That’s the greatest thing I’ve heard in a while,” Philp said. “It’s imagery that’s really poignant, I think.”

-More of Lawrences work can be seen at

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Donald Kolberg graduated with a Fine Arts Degree from California State University, Los Angeles. He taught at the Los Angeles School of Art and co-founded Art Core, an organization dedicated to the open dialogue and display of the work of emerging artists. He continued his Master studies at Otis Art Institute. While at Otis Art Institute his teacher and main influence was internationally recognized painter Arnold Mesches. In Artcore he worked under the guidance of Lydia Takashita. With their teaching Donald learned the value of depth, texture and form in images and surface. He incorporated this into his concept of Life Forms, the portrayal of the human figure as a landscape of life and a celebration of form through Sculpture and Painting.

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