Lou Larson admits being a late bloomer when it comes to putting paint to canvas.
Now at age 91, with less than two years of artistic endeavours under his belt, he continues to expand his creative horizons.
“I was never really interested in art. I was an engineer and did some drafting and then a couple of years ago I started doing shades (black and white sketches) and then somebody said ‘Those are pretty good, you should put some colour to it,’ and that’s what got me started,” said Larson during a recent showing of his work at the Athens Creek Retirement Lodge where he now lives. “It was challenging at first but I liked it and so things I imagined I put on paper and it just sort of went from there.”
Growing up on the family farm in Alberta was a difficult time for Larson, especially after being diagnosed with Polio at the age of 13.
While he was able to overcome that physical obstacle 100 per cent within a year, with no lasting effects, he was sure at a very early age the wheat fields were not where he wanted to spend his life.
“I was born and raised on a farm and there were too many dry years, dust bowls, grasshoppers and the like,” said Larson. “Dad farmed 800 acres and barely made a go so I decided it was not for me.”
He went on to graduate from high school and work for the provincial government in several capacities, in both highways and forestry.
After retiring from the public sector he began his second career as a consultant which is when he began his travels around the globe.
In addition to earning a living, those years also proved be a mental photo album for the art he produces now.
“I get my inspirations from the things I’ve seen in my life and I’ve seen a lot of things,” said Larson. “So I have a real reservoir of things I can put on paper and I enjoy doing it.”
He and his wife, who passed away several years ago, fell in love with Penticton the first time the saw it and moved to Athens Creek Retirement Lodge.
The couple, who were married 66 years, had seven children.
“My art is very important to me now that I am by myself and I spend three hours and five hours at a time at it,” he said. “It saves me from that television. I was watching too much of it and this is a lot more fun.”