Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On the Easel: Evening in Columbus

The past two months have been a very productive period for me, despite the holidays. Since November 1st I have worked on nine paintings, although I have already painted over one of these. Most (with the exception of one) have an architectural theme to them, and several (like the one above) have been based on buildings I sketched or photographed during my time in Columbus, Ohio.

This painting is based on a house located on the east side of Columbus, near Franklin Park. It was a beast of a place, three stories tall, and in a slight state of decline. Houses nearby were either in a similar state, or completely abandoned. I understand that the east side has seen a renaissance since I left in 1999; I'd be curious to explore this neighborhood again today.

"Evening in Columbus." Oil on stretched canvas, 36 x 24 inches. Completed in December 2008.

Monday, December 29, 2008

On the Easel: House at the Beach

This painting, entitled "House at the Beach," is one I completed this month. The work does not depict an actual scene; instead, it is a work of imagination using a variety of visual sources. The Victorian-style house is loosely based on two different houses I photographed while living in Columbus, Ohio from 1996 to 1999. The beach scene is a compilation of imagery I sketched and photographed along the Pacific Coast during a trip to California in September of this year.

Originally, I planned this canvas as a night scene. However, early in the painting process I decided to convert to a late afternoon time period. This allowed me to focus on the effect created from sunlight hitting the brick facade of the structure. The right side of the building was painted primarily in Utrecht Cadmium Orange Hue Series 2. I have used Utrecht paints since my college days in the mid 1980s when an art instructor at the University of Maryland, Richard Klank, recommended them in my first painting course. My basic pallet includes Utrecht White, Naples Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Naples Yellow Hue, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Orange Hue, Cadmium Red Hue (mixture), Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Phthalo Blue, Cerulean Blue Hue and Green Earth Hue (mixture).

"House at the Beach." Oil on stretched canvas, 24 x 30 inches, completed in December 2008.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Christmas Tree

Since the Christmas holiday has almost arrived, I thought I would post a painting of mine that captures the spirit of the season. This work depicts my friend, artist Tinam Valk, sipping wine in her living room near her candle-lit Christmas tree. It served as the image on my first hand-made Christmas card in 1995.

"The Christmas Tree." Oil on stretched canvas, 30 x 24 inches, completed in 1995.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cary Farmhouse Series: Second Post

This painting of the Cary farmhouse located on Holly Springs Road was my second within the series. After completing a small 9 x 12 inch oil study, I chose a tighter composition from the study for the larger 24 x 30 inch work.

The contrasts formed by the shadows on the rooftop, and on the front porch, particularly attracted me to this subject. The house faces west, so the late afternoon light (especially in February, when this work was produced) creates deep blue shadows on the faded white facade. In fact, the sunlight at this time of day was so appealing to me that I immediately began an even larger canvas (24 x 36 inches) again based on the smaller study, but utilizing a slightly different perspective and composition. I'll discuss that work in a future post.

In May 2008 I entered this painting in the Visual Art Exchange's "SCOPE: The North Carolina Landscape" juried exhibition (along with the larger canvas mentioned above), and juror Tom Grubb - Curator at the Fayetteville Museum of Art - selected both pieces for the show. This version remains one of my favorite paintings, and currently hangs in my family room rather than on my studio storage shelves.

"House on Holly Springs Road." Oil on stretched canvas, 24 x 30 inches, completed in February 2008.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blue Christmas

Since 1995 I have created an individual Christmas card design to mail to a handful of family and friends. Most of these cards have featured small oil paintings but occassionally I have also used pastel drawings or computer-generated designs.

This year's card, depicted above, featured a painting of the exterior of my Raleigh home decorated for the holidays. Since the color of the lights used to outline my house are blue, I decided to title the work "Blue Christmas."

"Blue Christmas," 11 x 14 inches, oil on stretched canvas. Completed in November 2008.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Studio

My painting studio is located on the lower level of my split-level home in Raleigh, NC. It measures approximately 12 feet by 22 feet, and was originally a built-in one-car garage. Sometime during the 1980s, the garage was converted into a finished office by the previous owner, who then used it as a base for his life insurance agency. The former garage door was replaced by a set of French doors, and the room was dry-walled, carpeted and air-conditioned.

When I moved into the house in 2004, I immediately chose this space for my studio. I eventually removed the carpeting, painted the original concrete floor a terracotta red, and installed shelving for storage and bookcases for my visual art texts. It's a small but comfortable space for me to work in, and very secluded from the rest of the house. All in all, the perfect artist's retreat.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shuttered Cabin

Structures that have been abandoned and stand in a state of disrepair have always attracted me. When I was a child, I grew up near the ruins of a sanitarium complex. I could ride through the grounds on my bicycle and play in the debris of the hospital buildings and staff quarters.

The above painting is based on a similar subject I found on a business trip to Corpus Christi, Texas in 1995. Walking through the city on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I found a small house boarded-up and long-since forgotten, standing behind a chain-linked fence near some warehouse buildings. I didn't have a sketchbook with me, so I took several photographs and filed them away. In 2006 I used the photos to create the painting "Abandoned Cottage." Then, this summer I pulled them out again to create this work.

"Shuttered Cabin." Oil on stretched canvas, 9x12 inches, completed in June 2008.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Circus House

The architecture of Columbus, Ohio also inspired this painting. It is based on a mansion in that city's Victorian Village neighborhood that is known as "The Circus House." I toured the home back in the 1990s during a Victorian Village home tour. It was constructed in the 1890s by a circus entrepreneur named Peter Sells, thus the name. Its unusual design gave it an eerie sense of forboding that I found appealing.

"The Circus House." Oil on canvas paper, 16x20 inches. Completed September 2008.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Favorite Museums: Reynolda House

One of my passions is to visit visual art museums whenever I am traveling to new areas. I especially love American art, so museums specializing in this interest have a special appeal.

One of the best in the country, Reynolda House, is just two hours from my home. Located in Winston-Salem, NC, Reynolda House features both a modern museum of art facility and the historic home of the R.J. Reynolds family of tobacco fame.

Last month I visited Reynolda House to see the exhibit "John Sloan's New York." Sloan's work has always intrigued me, but it was a special treat to view a large body of his work up close.

Visit the Reynolda House website at

Friday, December 5, 2008

Savannah, Georgia

My favorite city in North America - and probably the world - is Savannah, Georgia. No other locale has such a combination of mystery, atmosphere, architecture and history. An annual trek to Savannah is a tradition in my household, and every year I discover something new or intriguing.

The city's architecture serves as a great inspiration for my creative juices. This work, "Night in Savannah," attempts to capture the mixture of beauty, decay and decadence that so intrigues me during my stays there. Oil on stretched canvas, 24 x 30 inches, completed January 2008 (purchased by the Arts Council of Wayne County for its permanent collection).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Farmhouse Series

At the beginning of this year I began a series of paintings based on a single subject: an early 20th century farmhouse located on Holly Springs Road in Cary, NC. The farmhouse stands on about 50 acres of land near the intersection of Cary Parkway, and was constructed around 1910-1915. A little research on my part led me to discover that this was the home of the Jones-Franklin Farm, an old homestead in the Cary area of Wake County. A small cemetery is also located on the farm site, as is an older wooden farmhouse that may date to the late 18th century.

I find the house itself very interesting, particularly at dusk when the sunlight falls on the building's western side. At this point in time, I've completed 12 different pieces based on the farmhouse. They can be seen on my website at

"Study for 'House on Holly Springs Road.'" Oil on stretched canvas, 9 x 12 inches, completed in January 2008.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Architectural subjects

I've always had a love for architecture, especially residential structures. The Victorian style is a favorite of mine, particularly when completed in masonry (rather than wood). I lived in Columbus, Ohio for nearly four years and fell in love with that city's surviving Victorian neighborhoods. I have since used some of these examples as source material for recent works.

"Night Windows," 24 by 18 inches, oil on stretched canvas, completed in August 2008. This was the second canvas I completed based on a beautiful High Victorian brick mansion located on East Broad Street in Columbus. The house has survived into the 21st century and is now leased out as commercial real estate.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My first entry

Welcome to the painting blog of Kenneth Eugene Peters. I have decided to join the 21st century and add a blog to my personal web site,, to document my portfolio of paintings as it grows.

This is my most recent completed work, "Movie Theater at Night." Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches, completed November 2008. The work is loosely based on an actual theater I visited in Santa Barbara, California in September.