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Herb Lawton

I began painting in my early teens and was convinced at that time that I wanted art to be my career, but parental advice instead steered me into a career of architecture.  This worked out quite well and resulted in a highly satisfying career, which gave me great pleasure and satisfaction over the years.   I began my architectural career after a four-year stint in the navy and six years at the University of Cincinnati.  Following that I spent a number of years working with different architects, first in Cincinnati, then Florida and finally San Francisco.  After that I established a small office in San Francisco where I practiced five years before moving to Hawaii and opening an office that grew into a rather large firm during the twenty-three years I was there.  I retired in 1989, moved back to the mainland and in 2004 moved into the new Cedars of Chapel Hill.

During my working years I painted occasionally but after retiring I was finally able to paint on a more regular basis.  After moving to The Cedars I really began painting in earnest, at least two or three hours per day—sometimes more—for at least five days out of each week.  And this has given me enormous pleasure and satisfaction.  I find it very exciting to try different approaches and techniques and to approach a painting from a number of different perspectives.   I use photographs I have taken as the basis for some paintings, for some I use photos I find primarily on the internet, some are plein-aire (paintings done outside on site) and quite a few are just the result of letting my imagination have free rein and “creating.”  Sometimes the results are quite satisfying and then there are other times when they aren’t.   The majority of my paintings are landscapes; I love to paint water and mountains as well as more intimate places such as streams, swamps, glens, etc.  I think that some of my paintings might be called impressionistic—I do like the type of painting that leaves something—sometimes a lot, to the imagination, but then a number of my paintings are also more realist.

My place at The Cedars is essentially one large space—living, dining, kitchen—all sharing space with my easel, which is in a very prominent location within this group of spaces.  This lets me view what I am working on wherever I am in the apartment.  It’s very much like living in my studio which I find very nice, and definitely stimulating and productive.  It’s an environment that constantly invites me to come to my easel and “do my thing.”