Painting to his last day at 87, Laurence Sisson thrived when most people in his position succumb to age, illness and the pressures of a long life. Sisson’s work ethic was to get up every day and perfect his artistic craft that motivates the artist; it keeps him at the easel striving for perfection. His oils and watercolors today have the same energy and even more polish and appeal than they did 30 years ago. The most recent count lists Laurence Sisson in about 18 American museums, most of which feature both his oils and watercolors. His association with museum collections across the country dates back to the early 1950s. Sisson was already an accomplished artist by the time he was 20 and was initially collected in Boston and Maine. By 1951, Forbes magazine’s Fortune selected one of his paintings for their March 1951 cover.
His subject matter is timeless; the scenes he paints are ever evolving like the sky above. “I’m still fascinated by the ocean and desert landscapes,” Sisson explains. “I am always looking for new vocabulary to capture the aesthetic form and design and am continually expanding and refining my work.” Maine’s rocky and wild coast continues to be a favorite scenario for this prolific painter, who is a native New Englander. Sisson always recalls the moist salty air and movement in the ever fascinating tide pools that hug the shoreline. He loves studying the unusual textures of coastal pebbles and likes to think people are beach-combing through his paintings and discovering the many shore inhabitants he has uncovered. Most recognized are his coastal paintings with pebbles washed up on the shoreline. His unique pebble technique distinguishes him from other artists and makes his art signature. The same applies to his treatments of painting clouds, whether majestic in the west or gloomy shades of gray in the coastal east.
Sisson also loves to immerse himself in the sparse beauty of southwestern landscapes. He’s intrigued by the rhythmic shapes of New Mexico and Arizona’s mesas, hills, valleys and desert plains and by the movement of cloud shadows crossing the mountains and glistening over canyon walls. A resident of New Mexico for more than 36 years, he’s begun to observe a similarity between the natural forms indigenous to his New England childhood home and the mesas and vast open spaces surrounding him today. “Hills and deserts in New Mexico flow and seem wave-like to me,” he comments. “Sometimes New Mexico colors creep into my Maine paintings. When I put a New Mexico painting next to one of Maine, I see they are characteristically similar.” Within each painting is 70 years of experience. Each painting takes on its own individual personality, no matter how many times Sisson paints the landscape he loves and cherishes. Every observation of the surging tides and rhythmic waves that pound against the Maine coast or the expansive desert floor of northern New Mexico is a fresh and vibrant experience that excites his imagination and fuels his aesthetic drive.
Adaptation From: FineLifstyles Santa Fe, Summer 2015, Volume 1 Issue 3