I have opened La Velle’s Gallery of Fine Art showing and selling paintings by nationally known artists, Ed La Velle, Robert Wood and Eugene Garin. You will be amazed at the size and scope of the original oil landscapes and seascapes on display – masterpieces of translucent waves dashing against implacable rocks; redwood groves you feel you can walk into; and massive oaks overshadowing fields of lupines.
Ed La Velle’s love of nature is reflected in his subject matter. When asked what makes his paintings so popular, Ed said, “I just try to paint as close as I can to the scene’s original beauty.” Many of his paintings are of scenes in rural Lake County, and literally hundreds of them were done on the La Velle ranch, which was not a working ranch, but a painting ranch, “an artist’s paradise” as Ed referred to it.
According to Alex Dzigurski, world famous artist and art critic, La Velle’s paintings “reflect the all-important quality of ‘feeling’; and the manner in which he finishes his work indicates a true mastery of painting technique.”
With more than 60 years of practice, La Velle had ample opportunity to perfect his technique. Encouraged by his mother, also a noted artist, Ed painted his first original of Texas Blue Bonnets at age four.
Edith La Velle advised her son to study under as many accomplished teachers as was possible. “To create a thing of arresting beauty cannot be taught in a short time with a few simple rules, “she said. “But with good taste in color, an instinct for design, a flair for balance and line, and with hard work and study and time, you may make it,” she told Ed.
Following his mother’s advice, Ed studied and worked with renowned artists in Europe and Japan, and visited many world famous museums, all of which have contributed to his personal style. Commenting on the “inner light” which is characteristic of his paintings, Ed explained, “This is the influence of M. Suzuki, who was head of the Japanese Imperial Artists before World War II.”
La Velle also studied under A. Briedenbach, Dean of the Steidel Academy in Frankfurt, Germany, and a master of composition and light, and Eugene Garin, a Russian-born painter of seascapes.
When Ed took a break from his rigorous twelve-hour-a-day painting schedule, he could be found working in his garden at his home on the south bank of Big Canyon Creek in Middletown, Lake County, California.
Throughout the years, La Velle exhibited in leading galleries and shows, and received numerous awards in national competitions. Among them are California Artist of the year 1972, and Bronze medal, ribbon and cash awards at the Invitational George Phippen Memorial Western Art Show in Arizona, 1976.
Marion Skottowe, distinguished national art critic, purchased an oil painting by La Velle and was so pleased with her painting she wrote an article about it saying, “We all know the thrill of finding a painting that compels us to say, ‘I just love it!’ That thrill should make your decision. Recently I acquired one of Ed La Velle’s beautiful scenes depicting slopes of lupine, an interesting peaked roof of a house tucked in a group of trees, and in the distance a light sunny meadow, and beyond that soft mountains and sky. During my forty years of collecting I can’t remember being more delighted when bringing a picture home. Ed La Velle has a keen sense of balance and composition and his use of color is superb. His seascapes, with roaring waves, are magnificent.”
His work is in prominent collections throughout the world. When he was governor, Ronald Reagan acquired “Redwood Cathedral” and later, as President, “Blue Bonnets and Eucalyptus.” Both pieces now are in the former President’s private collection.
“A La Velle oil is not inexpensive,” said Daryl Arrington, former Director of Simic Gallery, Carmel, “but his museum-quality paintings are real bargains.”
Despite his handsome list of accomplishments, Ed La Velle (1911-1999) retained a “down home” demeanor. Although Ed will not be at the Lakeport Gallery, except in the spirit evidenced in his work, I will be on hand to show and talk about his paintings. Lovers of the outdoors will enjoy taking an art break here at La Velle’s Gallery of Fine Art, 1175 North Main Street, Suite G. Lakeport, California. The gallery is open by appointment.
Ed La Velle, III