M. Kirven Larsen Artwork

Exploring Pastels on Various Surfaces

Fall, Winter, and Spring, 2022-2023

He Always Looks Like This

Phoenix, AZ

Tulips in Wedgewood

Phoenix, AZ

This painting pulled together several factors, first being that I have wanted to incorporate the lovely Wedgwood pitcher from my mother's treasures into a painting and have finally done so. I also did a complete preliminary painting of the tulips, a good practice that I need to do more often. I also experimented with a little bit different style of strokes and background. I credit my daughter Ginger for helping with the background by teaching me how to use Procreate. And, this painting is larger than most of my others at 19 x 24".

I am Sorry About Your Bird

Phoenix, AZ

The cat is antsy about being held and the sad, wistful expression on the woman told me that she grabbed the cat but was too late to save his victim. Songbirds in the background are a gentle statement to remind us that cats are instinctive killers. It's our responsibility as pet owners to keep cats indoors, away from potential prey.

Amaryllis Cluster

Phoenix, AZ

My neighbor was leaving on a trip and she was sad that the amaryllis would be in full bloom while she was gone, so she suggested that I paint them. It's quite a loose style, another aspect that I am trying to incorporate more.

You are the Color in my Drab Life

Phoenix, AZ

I am rarely happy with the backgrounds in my paintings. I have learned that I really have to plan the whole picture out in advance or the background will haunt me. So in this painting I made the background the subject and planned a foreground image to go with it. It's kind of goofy but I like the effect and will experiment with more like that.

People In My Life

Enjoying Herself

Phoenix, AZ (Oct. 2021)

We had a wonderful week with our friends from NC and our breakfast out at O.H.S.O. brewery gave Steve a chance to get a great shot which resulted in this portrait.

Beautiful Friend

Phoenix, AZ (2020)

Optimism personified. Glorious in The Battle. You are an inspiration every day.

American in Nigeria

Phoenix, AZ (2020)

Native wedding headdress. Thanks to our friends who shared this image of their daughter.

Blue Scarf

Phoenix, AZ (2019)

After Nicholai Fechin, Russian artist.

At the Cabin (1)

Phoenix, AZ (2019)

Best man, outstanding chef, excellent baker.

At the Cabin (2)

Phoenix, AZ (2019)

Focused on work, resisting fulltime retirement.

Audiophile Extraordinaire

Phoenix, AZ (2019)

After Nicholai Fechin, Russian artist.

The Queen

Phoenix, AZ (2020)

The world's best cat. Regal and always polite.

After Modigliani

Phoenix, AZ (2019)

The inspiration for this painting came from Modigliani's painting, "Madame Georges Van Muyden" and a photo of a young woman with earrings.

Wonderspaces 2019

Phoenix, AZ (2019)

Interactive art exhibit allowed visitors to paint a wall with colors.

The Rug Seller

Phoenix, AZ (2018)

People’s Choice Award, Arizona Pastel Artists Association, Fall 2018. Soft pastel on gessoed masonite with acrylic underpainting.

Blue-Eyed and Pensive


Soft pastel on sanded pastel board.

The Veteran

Phoenix, AZ (2018)

Soft pastel on sanded pastel paper.

Weight of the World

Phoenix, AZ (2018)

Soft pastel on sanded pastel paper.

Sunday Morning

My Uncle, The Artist


Retired mechanical engineer, favorite uncle, talented watercolorist. Soft pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes paper.

Tour Guide

Corfu, Greece (2017)

Soft pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes paper. (2017)

Thirtieth Anniversary


At home just after retirement. Soft pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes paper.

Waiting All Day

Phoenix, AZ (2016)

Waiting All Day was inspired by several experiences, including long waits at airports due to cancelled flights and family members in surgery (necessitating many hours in hospital waiting rooms).


(March, 2016)


Still Life

Priest and Nuns Monument

Moab, UT (May 17, 2022)

Travel journal entry, Colorado River rafting trip in Moab, UT. Felt-tip pens on paper, 6" x 9". Copying an oil painting by Lucie Cousturier, in a pointillist style.

Sea Turtle with Aquatic Life

Phoenix, AZ (Mar. 2022)

Watercolor on paper, 9" x 12". Experiment with iridescent colors. I used a reference drawing from a coloring book.

After Lucie Cousturier

Phoenix, AZ (Mar. 2022)

Copying an oil painting by Lucie Cousturier, in a pointillist style.

Bouquet of Flowers after Van Gogh

Phoenix, AZ (Feb. 2022)

A copy of van Gogh's oil painting.

Late Afternoon in Amsterdam

Phoenix, AZ (Jan. 2022)

Pastel on pastelmat, 9" x 12". The reference photo was one Steve took about 20 years ago. I was experimenting with a style similar to pointillist, but with broader marks. I like the effect.

Vase with Flower and Thistles, after Van Gogh

Phoenix, AZ (Dec. 2021)

Pastel on paper, 9" x 12". (See a mid-point painting.)

Butterflies and Poppies After Van Gogh

Phoenix, AZ (Oct. 2021)

Van Gogh copied the works of several famous artists, including Millet, Holbein, Bernard, Hiroshige, Delacroix, Dore, Rembrandt, and others.

Knowing this gave me the emotional freedom to copy some of Van Gogh's paintings. The reproductions vary widely in color so it is difficult to know how closely mine match but that doesn't matter if the paintings turn out well.

Van Gogh's painting of Butterflies and Poppies was done in oil on canvas and mine is pastel on paper. This "translation" led me to experiment with a technique to make parts of my painting look like Van Gogh's sections of unpainted canvas. I liked the effect.

Elephant Tea Jar and Bouquet

Phoenix, AZ (Sept. 2021)

This painting is a combination of memories. The house in the background is on the beach in Hull, MA. I lived there during my high school years and part of college. Seeing it in my painting helps to keep those memories alive. The tea jar does the same for a much different phase of my life. I bought it to hold the ashes of our dear son, Eric, with the connection being that “elephants never forget.”

Emperor Moth After Van Gogh

Phoenix, AZ (Oct. 2021)

This is the first of Van Gogh’s paintings that I chose to copy. I recently watched an excellent lecture on YouTube (which, if I could find it again, I would include here) wherein the speaker showed many examples of how Van Gogh’s work copied or derived from the work of others and then also included examples of how later artists derived their work from Van Gogh’s. It’s just themes in movies and musical riffs and beats—-we express ourselves by building on the creativity of others.

Van Gogh painted mainly in oils and my painting is in pastel but I am pleased with the end result. Pastels can be wonderfully bright.

Stained Glass Birds

Phoenix, AZ (2021)

Derived from a stained glass art piece.

Still Life with Ox

Phoenix, AZ (2021)

Original still life of ceramic ox and little boy flute player.

Roses and Alstroemeria

Phoenix, AZ (2021)

Fresh bouquets are very inspiring. Love them. (See my build process.)

Coffee Mug with Gumdrops

Phoenix, AZ (2020)

Love the simple, intense background.

Coffee Mug with Radishes

Phoenix, AZ (2020)

The intense purple background is exciting but my favorite elements are the radish roots.

A Boy and his Shadow

(November, 2018)

Still life with marble statue and chrysanthemums.

Copper Canyon, Mexico

Girl with Candy Bar

Batopilas (March 2018)

Original art.

Man with Black Hat

Copper Canyon (March 2018)

Native Tarahumara man from trip to Copper Canyon area. Soft pastel on sanded pastel board.

Worried and Waiting

Copper Canyon (2018)

Soft pastel on sanded pastel paper.

Performance at School

Chiapas, Mexico (2016)

School children perform for tourists. Soft pastel on sanded pastel paper.

Proud Mother