Inspiring Artist

Hanover’s Rudolech says he enjoys sharing the gift of art

IHe has artwork on display at several shows this fall

HANOVER, Ind. (September 2016) – At age 67, it is clear that artist Larry Rudolech is not ready to put away his paint brushes. His zest for life and passion for art grow by the year. The family home on Joe’s Lane in Hanover, Ind., is filled with his paintings. Through the years, he has won many awards, at least seven this summer. When some of those award-winning pieces do not sell, he tends to give them to galleries. His is a generous spirit that radiates humility.
In June, Rudolech and three painters took a trip out west to do what they love best – Plein Air Painting. They went to Utah and Colorado.

Photo by Alice Jane Smith

Hanover, Ind., artist Larry Rudolech poses in his studio with his artwork.

“Moab, Utah, is one of our favorite places to paint,” Rudolech said. “There are all of those red rocks and no vegetation.”
They painted in national parks near Moab, including Zion National Park; Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. They also went to parts of Colorado because one of the painters never had been there. This fall, the four artists will have exhibits of their works at art museums in the Indiana towns of Richmond, Lafayette and Nashville. 
Rudolech usually spends summers doing Plein Air events. This year he scheduled 14. “I love every minute of it.”  He enjoys painting with younger painters, such as his friends who traveled west with him. “It is great to see the young kids, yes. They’re good, yes. They’re trying to paint. They bring joy to my heart.” 
Sometimes the pace of these events can get hectic, he admits, but he is not ready to slow down. One Friday afternoon in mid-August, he was packing for an Indiana Plein Air “Paint Out” in West Baden, Ind., to be followed by another event in La Grange, Ky., the next weekend, and then off to Grand Marais, Minn., for a competition for “invited artists.” Last year, he won an award there, so he is returning.
“All you win there is a pair of suspenders,” he chuckled. Rudolech said he loves the spirit of this competition because it “gives it back to fun and takes some of this edge off.”
“Plein Air Painting should be a fun event,” he said. He wants to “capture the moment” in his painting. If the light is right that day, he asks of his painting, “Does it have the warmth? It’s more of an emotion thing for me.”

Photo provided

Larry Rudolech’s bridge painting is going to be in the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society Best of America Show in Orleans, Mass., from Sept. 3 to Oct. 3.

He chaffs at being labeled anything other than “artist.” Do not call him a “plein air artist.” He gets frustrated when some plein air artists bend the rules and spend too much time perfecting their works later in the studios.
“I’m a purist,” he said. “If there is a nasty old fire hydrant there, I’ll put it there.” He has a gift for finding beauty wherever he is. He does not need to drive to the canyons and mesas of Utah to find something to paint, he noted, when he can roam the alleys of downtown Madison and find as much worthy material.
“The only thing I have come to know is I can’t stop trying to express to others what it is I see or maybe even more, feel when I gaze on a site as simple as a road covered with an early morning fog,” he says in his “artist’s statement” on his website. “I don’t think I see anything different than what others see. I am just trying to make sure they don’t miss the beauty that comes with a lot of small and sometimes simple things in life. More importantly, I realize that it is only with God’s blessing that I am able to see sometimes with my heart than with my eyes. So maybe that’s why I try to use my brush to express what others may be able to put into words.”
As a youth, Rudolech delivered newspapers and spent time at the Boys’ Club in Madison. His father was a bricklayer and had designed stained glass windows, a hint, perhaps, of an artistic gene in the family. The family moved frequently, but Rudolech had a sketchpad at an early age. The late John Paul, director of the Boys’ Club, nurtured Rudolech’s interest in art and provided his first set of oil paints. His first mentor was Lou Knoble, his high school art teacher.
Early on, Knoble recognized his gift. “He has tremendous talent,” he said. “He could take anything and turn it into something. He was mischievous, just a kid, and he had so much talent.”
Knoble told Rudolech that he was going to art school, and he paved the way for Rudolech to accomplish this. Rudolech was showered with national awards and scholarships, including the prestigious Julius Epstein Competition.
Ultimately, he went to John Herron Art School in Indianapolis, where he decided to pursue a career in graphic design in order to find a job to provide for himself and his family – a necessity in those days. Upon graduation with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, he did typesetting and printing, worked for advertising agencies, and eventually ran his own freelance design and illustration company until 2001.
Twelve years ago, while still working for Porter Paints and traveling in Nevada, Rudolech had a heart attack and died, he said. A co-worker drove him to a hospital, as he lost consciousness. Rudolech eventually was revived on a fourth attempt. He has no memory of a “near-death” experience, only of hearing someone say, “We usually don’t get them back on a fourth attempt” or something like that.
It was a life-changing experience for him. “I have a God-given gift. I need to enjoy it and spread it. When I do those things, it does come back,” he concluded.
Although Rudolech had starting painting again a few years earlier, while still in advertising, he was only producing “maybe three or four paintings a year.” Concentration was a problem. It took time for him to get back to where he is now, working at the unbelievable pace of 300 or more paintings a year.
“I ain’t done,” he said. “I can still go. You have to believe in yourself.”
Rudolech now “exhibits all over the place and makes his living through his art,” said Knoble. “He is the most successful artist we’ve got here in town.”
Current work by Rudolech is on display at the following galleries: Hoosier Salon in Indianapolis  until Sept. 24; National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society’s Best of America Show in Orleans, Mass., until Oct. 3; Eisele Gallery for the Oil Painters of America in Cincinnati until Oct. 8; American Impressionist Society, Kirkland, Wash., Sept. 23 - Oct. 30; Lafayette (Ind.) Art Museum, Sept. 27-Nov. 27; Plein-Air Member Show at Brown County Art Gallery, Nashville, Ind., Nov. 12-27.
A complete list of his many awards was not available. His website, however, shows images of award-winning paintings from 2016, as follows: “Washington Gem,” excellence in painting,” Viewpoint; “French Lick Crossing,” second place, Indiana Artists’ Show; “Calling,” Quick Paint at the Penn Valley Park Plein Air Fest; “Morning Scout,” First place at the Penn Valley Park Paint Out, Kansas City, Mo.; “Dead End Street,” second place, Jasper, Ind., Plein Air Festival Quick Paint; “Fall At Last,” award at IHA Show in Brookville, Ind.; “Morning Light,” first place at the North Carolina Open Plein Air in Salisbury, N.C.
Other awards in this partial listing include: “Winter Fire, 2015, “Best of Show at the Indiana Artist’s Club in 2015; the Carl Graf Memorial Award at the Indiana Heritage Show for “Not Just A Bridge” and “Café New Harmony,” which won a major award at the Hoosier Salon Show.

Rudolech and his wife, Janis, live with their Bichon, Ringo, in Hanover. They have two daughters, Misty and Tabatha.

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