MARY LARSON ART seattle
The subjects of my portraits are people I help care for as a nurse at the clinic where I work in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Many of the sitters in my portraits are homeless; some are not. All have been touched by homelessness. Warm gloves, hats, underwear, socks (often worn two months at a time), a cup of coffee and a sandwich are luxuries for people who are homeless. Instead of putting a dollar value on my portraits, I sell them in exchange for items that are given to our patients at the clinic and to other organizations that help people in need.
“Annette” Acrylic on canvas, 30”x30”, 2017.
“For Sale” for a donation of 1,000 cans of food to a food bank wherever you live.
When I begin the process of painting a portrait, I ask every sitter to tell me one special thing about them that they want to people to know about them when they look at their painting. The one thing Annette wanted people to know about her when we see her painting is that she’s been through some of the toughest times imaginable and “she survived...she made it.”
“Gilber” Acrylic on canvas, 24”x24”, 2017.
“For Sale” for 1,000 simple, homemade sandwiches for your local shelter.
Like many of the people who I have the honor of painting, Gilbert was bashful about smiling when I photographed him for fear people would notice he was missing some pearly whites. I told him not to worry! His smile is fabulous!
“Francisco” Acrylic on canvas, 30”x30”, 2017.
“For Sale” for a donation of1,000 cans of food to a food bank wherever you live.
When I photographed Francisco for his portrait, he asked me if he could have prints of his photograph to mail home to his mother in Mexico. His loyalty to and love for his mother was moving. The background of Francisco’s portrait is the logo for Gulf Oil to remind me of his mom who lives near the Gulf of Mexico.
“Matthew” Acrylic on canvas, 18”x18”, 2017.
“For Sale” for a donation of 650 cans of food to the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
One of the most kindhearted and stylish people I’ve ever painted, Matthew is just plain cool. The background of his painting is Hotwheels - a nod to his mobility via wheelchair.
“The Captain” Acrylic on canvas, 30”x30”, 2000. “Sold” for new socks.
The Captain was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He was a Captain and a dentist in the Army. When I met him during my work in Wasthington, D.C., the Captain slept at night in a park near the White House. On a cold night in the middle of winter, the temperatures dipped into the teens and people tried unsuccessfully to coax the Captain from the park and into a warm shelter. Mental health advocate, Tipper Gore, knew the Captain and reached out to help. Late at night, she asked her husband, Al, to write a note that she brought to the Captain in the park. Written on stationery from the Office of the Vice President of the United States, the note read something along the lines of, “Dear Captain, From one veteran to another, please come in out of the cold tonight…”. As soon as the Captain read the note, he sought warm shelter. This is one of the first portraits I painted and will always be one of my favorites.
“James” Acrylic on canvas, 30”x30”, 2016.
“Sold” for new warm stock caps.
James was a hair stylist who at one time worked in a salon at JC Penny’s in Los Angeles. On the day that I photographed him for his portrait, he met me dressed in a white top hat, white patent shoes, a white suit and a neck tie. When I photographed him, James was battling cancer and was unable to eat. He spoke of how much he missed eating his favorite foods. As he reminisced about his favorite foods, he made special mention of sweet peas. James said that every childhood meal he had was served with sweet peas. How he loved sweet peas. The background of James’ portrait is a label from a can of sweet peas. James passed away before he got to see his portrait.
“Mr.Lee” Acrylic on canvas, 30”x30”, 2012.
“Sold” for new socks & underwear for people in need in Helena, Montana.
Originally from South Korea, Mr.Lee lived for a period of time underneath a bridge in Seattle. On the day that I photographed him for his portrait, he wore a dashing sport coat to have his picture taken. The background of his painting is a storefront sign for a hotel in Pioneer Square - just steps from our clinic in Pioneer Square. I like Mr.Lee’s portrait, because it reminds me of the proud and distinguished man he is despite the circumstances he has endured.
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all images& information copyright marylarson 2017