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Lari Jacobson paints everything with trained, talented eye for design

Golden Dragon

The golden dragon Lari painted at the Cleveland Botanical Garden for the orchid show awed everyone, especially those who witnessed her painting it freehand, without a sketch.

by Martha Towns

“I can paint whatever people want,” Lari Jacobson said with the assurance of one who truly knows her abilities.

We were standing in the long hallway of the Botanical Garden where Lari had painted an exquisite golden dragon, 75 feet long on a red wall, part of the ornamentation for the recent orchid show. While I was waiting for her to arrive, two women I know from the library at the Cleveland Museum of Art told me they had seen her working on the dragon. “She didn’t even have a sketch,” said one in amazement. “I just started painting it,” said Lari as we talked later in the restaurant.

Another of her works was a pair of large, four-sided screens in the main gallery. The pale jade screens were overlaid with delicate Chinoiserie and someone who works at the Botanical Garden had already asked to purchase them. They will certainly make a stunning statement wherever they are placed.

Lari Jacobson has been painting all of her life. “Even as a child, I sensed that art would always be a central influence in my life,” she says in her curriculum vitae. She has studied at Miami (Ohio) University, at the New York Studio School in Manhattan, Boston University and the Rodger Newton School of Decorative Finishes in London. For five years she was head designer for the Frederick Cooper Company in Chicago where she did decorative painting and designed lamps and furniture.

Her background in traditional studio arts and the opportunities she has had to paint and draw, to say nothing of sketching her way through Europe and Africa, have given Lari an encyclopedic knowledge of technique and medium. Literally she can paint anything on anything from a sheet of paper to a stone wall, from a lampshade to an armoire. She has painted on wood, metal, brass and probably anything else you can think of.


Pictures of her work don’t do it justice. I have in my hand a sheet of glossy paper which shows a dozen samples of her designs. Whether it’s a pair of pears or a landscape, Lari’s eye for design and color is exquisite. Her business card is one of the most charming farm scenes I’ve ever seen.


Lari (“my mother named me Lara [as in Dr. Zhivago] but my sisters couldn’t pronounce it so it became Lari”) has painted murals and decorative finishes for residential, corporate, and nonprofit clients on walls, ceilings, floors, canvas and furniture.


You can see an exhibition of Lari’s work through May 5 in the Guren Art Gallery at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. On Sunday, April 7 and Sunday, April 14 Lari will be in the gallery for an artists’ reception.


Lari Jacobsen amidst orchids at the Cleveland Botanical Garden backed by Chinoiserie painted screens which have already been purchased by some lucky person.

Longwood Interiors

Lari is an extremely talented decorative artist. I am an interior designer and I have used Lari’s talent on many client projects over the past 3 1/2 years. First, her work ethic is very professional and I am so comfortable introducing her to my clients. Lari provides custom samples and quotes in a very timely manner and she responds with great grace to whatever changes are introduced as the project progresses. She paints incredibly fast, is very neat in her work area, and works very hard at ensuring that her client, which is by default, my client, is most happy with the result. In terms of her actual work, If you can dream it, Lari can paint it! I have had Lari paint projects as small as the size of one bird to whole wall murals which involve incredible detail. She has also painted quotes, patterns, scenes and trompe l’oeil on walls and canvases for my clients. If you are unsure as to exactly how you want a project executed, Lari has a wonderful sample book of her work.

Shani Spiegle

Lari designed and painted beautiful whimsical flowers all over my dining room walls. She thoroughly researched different styles and had many discussions about color and form. I feel like she completely understood what I envisioned and she created my mural flawlessly.

I get complements at every dinner party and I am happy every time I walk into the dining room!

Shaker Interiors

Lari is a pleasure to bring into my clients’ homes because she’s over-the-top talented, lovely to work with, and prompt. She has a large repertoire- from Asian inspired scenes, to modern landscape and portraiture, Lari can paint it all. I even asked Lari to paint a portrait of my daughter, an avid equestrian, for her tenth birthday gift. The painting of my daughter and her favorite horse is a treasured work that hangs right above her bed; it’s the showpiece of the room! Collaborating with Lari is always a fun and creative venture!


Lari Jacobson has completed several decorative artist projects for our home. She has completed several faux finishing projects as well as decorative painting (on furniture and lampshades) for us.

Lari is also a ‘fine artist’ and has eagerly taken on projects including custom drawings and decorative gift items.

Lari is an excellent listener, who takes into account all of your needs and wishes, and incorporates them into your project. She is incredibly talented as well as efficient with her time!

We’ve had so many compliments on our projects … that I’ve been eager to share her information with our friends!


Lari worked with us to create a beautiful vestibule reminiscent of vintage Gracie wallpaper along with stenciling our dining room walls and faux painting the barreled ceiling in the dining room. Not only is her work amazing, she is one of the most professional and pleasant artists I have worked with! She is reliable, trustworthy and communicates effectively throughout the entire process to make sure that the client is happy with her work.

I would recommend Lari to anyone looking to add a beautiful and unique work of art in their home!

Natasha Davidson

I’ve used Lari for a number of projects in my home from decorative wall painting to panting furniture accent pieces. Lari is such a pleasure to work with. Her work is amazingly creative, neat and timely. Highly recommended!