Artist of the Month


Larry Holmes Nowell was an air intercept controller in the Navy. He was the first enlisted man to receive the Distinguished Service Medal for combat action in 1972 and was inducted into the Navy Surface Warfare Hall of Fame in 2005.

He began his artistic career in California, when a neighbor convinced him to attend a painting class. He primarily worked in oil and focused on portraits. Larry’s medium shifted to wood carving after taking a night class taught by a former Air Force man.

As a child, Larry would go to the fair and recalled a cowboy who would whittle boots out of branches. So naturally, he began by carving boots and has made thousands over the years. One of his wooden boots even made it to the Roy Rogers Museum in Victorville, CA, and Roy himself placed it in a glass case across from Trigger.

After learning the basics, Larry tried his hand at carving portraits and began painting them with acrylics. He spent 25 years teaching wood carving workshops around the country and taught at the University of Tennessee for about six years. He sold his work, while traveling, at shows, Southern Highland Craft Guild stores, and the Museum of Appalachia.

Now, Larry works on commissioned pieces for friends, family, and neighbors. He also teaches the occasional private lesson. His focus has shifted more to painting than wood carving, and he is currently working on a goal to paint all of his family members as they looked when they were 6 years old.

He’s motivated by all the wonderful art in the world and inspired by the view from his home. He said, “the world is just full of wonderful painters and wood carvers…I just love art.” Interviewer, Synthia Clark

Art by Larry Nowell