Larry’s respect and admiration for the natural world is quickly evident when one views his art. His devotion to detail is well known by those interested in his paintings and prints. This act of love towards the outdoors has been part of his life since youth. His own words sum up the reasons as to why he adores the outdoors.
Larry at His Home Studio
My earliest outdoor adventure within the confines of my memory happened when I was around 5 years old. I was fortunate to have had been raised in an area where fields and woodlands were “just out back”…a country boy’s paradise! One late afternoon, my father and I walked over the hill from my Armstrong County, Pennsylvania home, to where an ancient shagbark hickory stood in a field near the bottomland. We sat down and my dad told me to be still and quiet and watch that old tree. The antics of that family of fox squirrels thrilled that young boy and caused a life-long quest to learn about nature. Also, the hickory nuts became a pastime during those winter months, as we cracked the shells enjoying the tasty treats. This has been one of those many fond moments of my life with my dad.”
Larry, will speak fondly of his father who took the time to share his outdoor interests. Allen Smail’s unselfish inclusions with the boy molded what Larry is today. He remembers with a smile the springtime hunts for those tasty morel mushrooms. The springtime woods is where a fascination with spring wildflowers blossomed. The “sometimes boring” search for native arrowheads helped instill an interest in early Pennsylvania history. His dad even worked with creating powderhorns! Larry was working a simple trapline by eight years old.
Larry says “I remember one muggy summer evening when my dad took me to the woodland pond behind the house. That evening, I watched my dad catch a bass on a surface plug and he taught me how to catch bluegills. What a memory!” These adventures, and many more, helped “set the tone” for a lure of the outdoors.
Larry’s earliest memory of his mother was not going to bed until she read Bible stories to him. Also, he remembers her devotion to him while dealing with pneumonia at age six. She has that quality of Larry’s grandparents believing that family comes first. She is that way yet! Sister, Ruthie and him ( and now their spouses) still come first! He has a deep respect and love for her. “My sister, by the way, is one of my biggest fans. Her support in my art ventures has always been strong. I appreciate and love her very much!” Ruthie is a very accomplished photographer.
In recent years, those early years of arrowhead hunting and listening to his dad talk about “Indians” and colonial life stirred a desire to paint eastern Native Americans. This interest, has, also, lead to some reenactment participation as an “eastern longhunter”. He was enthralled to have been part of the “attack of the Leni-Lenape village” during the 2006 250th anniversary of the attack. While participating in that event and for a small amount of time he actually felt as if he was there. Larry has hunted deer inclusive with flintlocks for many years harvesting well over 70 whitetails with flintlocks. His rifle, “Old Jacob” enjoy much time afield. The Andrew Vernor style flintlock was named in honor of the Delaware war chief, “Captain Jacob” who was killed during the 1756 attack on present day, Kittanning. He has, also, harvested some deer with his .62 caliber smmothbore flintlock. He has named that firearm, “Jeremiah.” This title comes from the Old Testament prophet of the same name.
Larry’s art has appeared in many magazines, both inside and as cover art. You may have seen his art in Pennsylvania Sportsmen; Turkey Call; Muzzle Blasts; Turkey and Turkey Hunting; Bowbender; Mountain Journal; Indian Artifacts and others. His illustrations have appeared in several books on hunting as well as many magazines. He has done art for several turkey call companies. He has sold prints across the nation. In 2000, he painted “Home To Kit-Han-Ne” featuring Delaware Indians coming home to (present-day) Kittanning in 1755. This art became the Armstrong County Bicentennial Print. A more recent painting depicts the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War at the Wheatfield at Gettysburg. (See the August 25th blog under the “historical” link.)
Larry is, also, a respected guitarist. He plays in a free-lance manner with many, varied bluegrass, country and gospel bands. His guitar work has been featured on more than several CDs, including his instrumental gospel CD, entitled “AS THE DEER”. Recently, I obtained digital recording equipment and began producing other CDs. I recently completed a CD entitled, “Songs For My Mother.” This CD was created for my mother’s 84th birthday. I sang all of the traditional country songs from my youth while living at home. I completed several other albums as well. A new Cd called, “NO RYHME OR REASON” was released in the fall of 2015. This CD features traditional country songs and includes two original gospel songs.
Larry says he is very fortunate to have a wife Lauranne (Laurie) that not only supports him in his endeavors, but, encourages him through those artistic bad times. She allows him to “vent” his creative impulses whether it be through his art; music; hunting or just a need to get to the woods! He very much loves her and appreciates her compassion.
To describe himself: Larry says he is a “simple man, needing little out of life to be content.” He is not ashamed to confess his belief in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (This is the gospel of 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4.)His beliefs have helped through many a difficult time! He, also, says that he is a commonsense conservationist and environmentalist, He enjoys hiking; bird watching; studying flora and fauna; hunting; fishing; landscaping; recording; Pennsylvania history, and much, much more.
Larry has a strong list of memberships to organization to which he believes in. The list includes: Life membership in the NRA (National Rifle Association); Life membership in the National Wild Turkey Federation including the Pennsylvania State Chapter and Kit-Han-Ne Longbeards Local Chapter ; Life membership in the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs; Life membership in the Roaring Run Watershed Association; Armstrong County Sportsman & Conservation League; Cherry Run Gun, Rod & Reel Club, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy; life member of the North Fork Chapter 29 of the Society of Pennsylvania Archaeology; the Armstrong County Historical and Geneology Society; Indiana Armstrong Patriots and the Armstrong County Tourist Bureau.