September 25, 2018
Arts & Entertainment
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  • David Lawton has traveled around the world to pursue art. He and his wife have lived in Pasadena for the last 25 years.
    Photo Provided
    David Lawton has traveled around the world to pursue art. He and his wife have lived in Pasadena for the last 25 years.
  • David Lawton has traveled around the world to pursue art. He and his wife have lived in Pasadena for the last 25 years.
    Photo Provided
    David Lawton has traveled around the world to pursue art. He and his wife have lived in Pasadena for the last 25 years.
  • David Lawton has traveled around the world to pursue art. He and his wife have lived in Pasadena for the last 25 years.
    Photo Provided
    David Lawton has traveled around the world to pursue art. He and his wife have lived in Pasadena for the last 25 years.
  • David Lawton has traveled around the world to pursue art. He and his wife have lived in Pasadena for the last 25 years.
    Photo Provided
    David Lawton has traveled around the world to pursue art. He and his wife have lived in Pasadena for the last 25 years.

Pasadena Painter Discovered His Passion At A Young Age

Maya Pottiger
Maya Pottiger's picture
View Bio
April 17, 2018

At a young age, David Lawton knew painting was a realistic career choice.

When Lawton was 13-years-old, Snowden Hodges, his art teacher at Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, took him under his wing and offered Lawton private painting classes.

“He was really encouraging and had a lot of life experience to be able to relate to me at that time as a young adult,” Lawton said.

Then, at 16, renowned painter George Devlin invited Lawton to spend the summer with him in Scotland assisting artists. At the time, Devlin was offering weeklong workshops to artists from all over Europe, but after a mix-up at the post office, Devlin realized none of the invitations went out. Regardless, Lawton was invited to stay for the entire summer.

Devlin took Lawton all over Europe, showing him the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery in London, and more places rich in art history in Holland and Amsterdam.

“It was life-changing,” Lawton said. “He took me to see the best art in the world.”

That wasn’t the only immersive experience Lawton had. Devlin introduced Lawton to Joanette and Cedric Egeli, who taught classes at their farm in Edgewater. Lawton took their weekly painting class, which began his time studying with them.

Once Lawton finished high school, he was invited to live and study with them. Lawton stayed with the Egelis for a year. In exchange for the lessons, Lawton assisted on their farm.

“It was a wonderful experience,” Lawton said. “I got to see what it really was like to be a full-time artist as far as all the thinking that’s involved and what you have to do to make it your career.”

Lawton believes he was the first student who was invited to that experience, but the Egelis now continually host studying artists.

After living with the Egelis, Lawton moved to New York to join the Art Students League. It was considered one of the best art schools in the country, and it offered a different take on college where the students were in charge. A board of students chose which artists would come teach, what the subject matter was and how long each “teacher” stayed.

“It was a school where teachers were artists first, and then they taught in addition to their own painting,” Lawton said.

However, he only stayed for a year. While at the Art Students League, Lawton met his wife and decided he needed to make more money than he was doing art.

He began working at Westinghouse, which became Northrop Grumman. He stayed for 26 years and ended his time there as an electrical design engineer.

“Art taught me how to handle a multitude of problems and problem solving,” Lawton said. “That discipline I learned from art easily converted into the problems that I had to deal with at Westinghouse.”

After leaving Northrop Grumman, Lawton began to teach. He now teaches at Anne Arundel Community College, senior centers, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and the Chesapeake Fine Arts Studio.

Lawton teaches the three media he uses: oils, pastels and watercolors.

“If you do all three mediums, what happens is you learn the strength and weaknesses of each medium you’re using,” Lawton said. “My work in each medium is stronger because I know how to pull out the best in each medium. You only know this differences if you work in other mediums.”

He also teaches the three styles he paints in: portrait, still life and plein air. Of the three, Lawton said still life is the most personal because it allows an artist to paint something however they choose to see it.

“Plein air is most immediate because it changes right in front of your eyes,” Lawton said. “You’re experiencing it and you’re trying to put it down with a sense of urgency because no two days or no two minutes in time are exactly the same.”

Lawton most enjoys helping people break down things to something they understand.

“When I’m working at the senior centers, they always tell me they never had the opportunity to do artwork,” Lawton said. “They said they wish they knew the enjoyment they got out of it sooner.”

Though he is a teacher to many, Lawton still studies with his mentor, Albert Handell.

“I’ve gone around the country to meet up with him and continue studying,” Lawton said. “I feel it’s really important that somebody never stops learning.”

When he isn’t painting and teaching, Lawton also works with the Mid-Atlantic German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue organization. After adopting two dogs he fostered, Lawton said he now only inspects the homes of those looking to adopt.

Lawton grew up in Severna Park but has lived in Pasadena with his wife for the last 25 years. His work is featured at the McBride Gallery in Annapolis.


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