Lance Woody Gravett was born June 22, 1945 in Laguna Beach, California. From a young age, Lance spent hours painting and drawing, and continued to experiment with form into young adulthood, playing with pastels, acrylic and pencils. Lance was entranced by the beauty of the natural world, a theme that informed most of his work.
Lance attended Valley Junior College where he began to work in ceramics. He was an honors student and president of the Art Club. He went on to study for his Masters in Fine Art at UCLA, and was awarded with an on-campus studio through a program run by his mentor and close friend Richard Diebenkorn.
Other close friends during this period included Sam Amato, William Brice, Jim Doolin, Steve Carlson, Steve Lang, Steve Anaya, Sherrie Scheer, Charles Garabedian, David Glines, Ray Brown and David James.
In 1969, Lance, along with Jack Duganne and Dale Mcleod formed the art collective Workshop i.e. in West Los Angeles, eventually joined by Shiela Pinkel. The site was frequented by many popular guest artists of the generation such as Bob Boreman, Sue Smith, Sam Leavitt, Billy T., Melanie Boone, Stan Migus, Mick Flam, Christine Nemcik, Kathy Karol, Elizabeth Reday, Joel Stearns, and Heidi Katz to name a few. All of whom lived at or worked at the shop at one time or another.
Lance displayed a one-man show in 1972 at Workshop i.e. in Ocean Park (in the building which had been Jim Turrell's studio), which was later picked up by multiple galleries. His paintings were described by critics and peers as impressionistic and soft, almost intentionally hazy. Lance was often referred to as an expert colorist, most notably by Richard Diebenkorn who hired Lance to paint a room in his home to reflect a variety of colors in different lights.
Beginning in 1975 Lance made series of trips to Hawaii where he took up residence in a poi factory which he used as a studio. These stays resulted in an enormous number of paintings showing the raw beauty of the Hanakua Coast that were later exhibited in a studio show in Santa Monica.
In 1977 Lance had a show at the Vanguard Gallery which was run by gallery directors Craig O'Rourke and Steve Sottnick. Barry Brennan reviewed the show for the Santa Monica Evening Outlook in an article entitled "Lance Gravett: Paintings Warmed from Within" in which he said the following, "Gravett works with fastidious attention to shape, an occasional concession to line and frequent reference to natural color. He likes to use the 'cold' hues that you see just before sunset on winter days. Sometimes the colors seem blown on gently by the wind. Gently is the key to the work... There is nothing harsh about it. Edges are muted. Forms evaporate before your eyes and colors invite long leisurely gazing. Gravett's use of light is especially interesting. He traps it somehow between the surface of the canvas and the wall so that the paintings seem warmed from within."
His interest in ceramics revived in 1982 and he and Sam Leavitt began to study with Michael Frimkiss. Christine Nemcik, who had been a close companion since 1979, traveled with Lance to Belgium, France and the Netherlands. In early 1984 they traveled to Japan. Lance loved to travel and experience nature, always seeking inspiration for his pieces. He was known to often carry 3 or more portable canvas and a drawstring Crown Royal bag with drawing utensils inside. He would often leave work behind in cities where he traveled.
Beginning in 1981, he went to Georgia every fall to spend two to three months painting at the home of Albert, a close friend from Hawaii. Lance passed away while living in Georgia on July 2nd 1985 at the age of 40. His peers remember a man as soft and gentle as his paintings, who lived simply to capture the enormous beauty in nature he saw around him.