The Art of Emotion

Featured artist Larry Cole brings paintings and perspective to Artsclamation!

Larry Cole poses beside
Local artist Larry Cole with this year’s featured work for Artsclamation!. “Off Stage” will be available for sale during a private showing on Dec. 3.

Larry Cole’s creations can leave a lasting impression. Striking, colorful images capture familiar scenes with a fresh and powerful perspective.  “I want the observers to look at my work and feel a connection with an old memory or some inner emotion that they want to experience again and again,” he says. Cole is the featured artist for Artsclamation!, a fine art show and sale to benefit the programs of Peninsula, a division of Parkwest Medical Center. He became connected with the event almost by accident, sim- ply searching for local shows where he could share his paintings.

Eight years later, he is an avid supporter of Peninsula through Artsclamation!. “I didn’t know much about their mission initially but I soon learned of the significant work Peninsula is doing
in this area for those in need of help with mental and emotional issues,” Cole says. Cole believes Peninsula’s mission is particularly important right now because of the stress induced by the COVID pandemic. “I am proud to be able to contribute in some small way in support of the programs and services they provide,” he says. “I especially like that their services extend to not only adults, but also to teenagers and children.”

Front of 2022 Artsclamation calendar
2022 calendars filled with art from this year’s talented artists are available for $10. Calendars can be purchased at the sale or by calling the Office of Philanthropy at (865) 531-5210.

Evolution of an Artist

Cole first encountered art as a child when his mother gave him what was left of a paint-by- number set. Captivated by the colors in front of him, he began a love for art that has
lasted a lifetime. At the University of Tennessee, Cole studied business and eventually received an MBA, yet he never forgot his artistic passion. “I drew my original inspiration from my early professors, Kermit Ewing and particularly Carl Sublett,” Cole says. “His works are still frequently on exhibit around Knoxville and I go see them every chance I get.”

After a long and successful career in the business world, Cole knew exactly where he wanted to invest his energies during retirement. Putting his brushes to work and creating images of art has become his second act in life, and he’s enjoying every moment. The art of Larry Cole began with paintings that were representations of real life. But  experimenting through the years and finding his own creative voice has led him to a new and abstract style.

“As I progressed as a painter, I learned to try to project my feelings about the subject rather than just reflect an image,” Cole says. “So the subjects of my current paintings live in or represent the real world, but you might not recognize them at first glance.”

A Fresh Look

Cole prepares his canvas with an acrylic sub-layered base to give a painting texture and depth. He creates customized colors to meet his vision. “If I need something to be green, I start out with layers of different shades of yellow, each drying before the next layer is applied,” Cole explains. “Then I begin layering thin strokes of blue on top until I get just the shade of green that I want.” It’s a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, but the result is well worth the effort. Cole’s colors radiate from canvas and wood panels. “The process also lends a bit of luminescence to the painting as the light reflects off of the different layers,” Cole says. I think that intense color is very emotional and I try to splash intense color wherever I can.”

For Artsclamation!, Cole’s work will be from his latest series of paintings- mystical landscape themes and some that are interpretations of the human form. He describes
them as being dream-like. Cole says he hopes his paintings will help observers at Artsclamation! to recall long-ago feelings, dreams, love, an unsolved mystery or the brisk air of a winter day. “I am trying to bring works that pull at the observer’s emotions – works that one may pass by at first but then think, ‘I want to go look at that again.’” Paintings by Cole and offerings from other talented artists will be on display during Artsclamation! at Sacred Heart Cathedral 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 4., This event is free and open to the public.

Experience the Art!

Larry Cole working on painting.
Featured artist Larry Cole of Knoxville applies oil colors in layers for a textured effect in his abstract-expressionist paintings.

After a hiatus prompted by the pandemic last year, Artsclamation! returns to Knoxville for a fresh start on Dec. 4, 2021. Art lovers can once again walk amid creations of gifted artists and experience the wonder, beauty and emotion in person.

This year Artsclamation! promises to be bigger and better than ever. The show has nearly doubled in size, with 45 artists who work in a variety of mediums from paintings, photography, sculptures and jewelry to pottery, fiber art, digital art and 2-D mixed media. Featured artist Larry Cole of Knoxville will present oil paintings that focus on an abstract
expressionist approach. Cole’s works have been featured in Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga areas, in addition to growing recognition in the Southeast region of the country. His featured
piece, “Off Stage,” will be available for sale during a private showing on Dec. 3, with all proceeds benefiting Peninsula.

Art from the Heart

Among the exhibits will be artwork created by more than 25 mental health patients from Peninsula Recovery Education Center’s therapeutic programs. Therapists in the recovery education program work with patients to aid the emotional healing process through creative expression.For 20 years, the Artsclamation! fine art show and sale has raised funds and support for Peninsula, a division of Parkwest Medical Center. Thirty percent of the proceeds from artists’ sales at Artsclamation! support improvements to the treatment programs and environments at Peninsula Hospital and enhance the mental health resources available through the behavioral health services of Peninsula.

“Peninsula’s team of therapists and clinicians are so grateful to the artists and patrons who support this event,” says Elizabeth Clary, BSN, RN, MHA, Peninsula’s vice president of behavioral health. “It is energizing when the community gets together to rally around mental health in a positive way.”

Virtual Exhibit Available

For those who aren’t ready to return to public events, or who can’t work this one into a busy schedule, Artsclamation! will once again go online for a virtual art show. Exclusives from several artists will be posted until Dec. 6, along with works from some artists who are also participating in the main show.To learn more about Artsclamation! or to purchase tickets to the private show that precedes the event, visit

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