Friday, January 30, 2009

Heading for Savannah

I'll be heading down to Savannah, Georgia today for a long weekend visit. I plan to see the George Bellows drawing exhibit at the Telfair Museum while there, as well as tour the Mercer-Williams House. This is a trip I take annually at the end of January as a mid-winter getaway, and as a chance to rekindle my visual interests in art and architecture. The weather is supposed to be sunny and mild, so it should be a good weekend to walk around this magnificent city. There is truly no place on earth like Savannah.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Favorite Artists: Tinam Valk

Tinam Valk is a Washington, DC-based artist whom I have known for nearly 25 years. She and I first met in 1985 while both working at the Maryland College of Art and Design (now known as the School of Art + Design at Montgomery College). Of German and Indonesian descent, she is originally from the Netherlands but has lived in the United States since the mid 1970s.

The painting above, "Stairway I," was an immediate favorite of mine when Tinam completed it a few years ago. A large work in oils, measuring 48 x 24 inches in dimension, I purchased it from Tinam in 2006 and it now hangs in my living room. While Tinam utilizes a variety of subject matter, working primarily in an atmospheric figurative vein, her architectural subjects are especially appealing to me. She has recently completed a series of small paintings depicting doorways, and is currently working on canvases that draw inspiration from wrought-iron works and door locks. Her portfolio also includes several large canvases based on landscape imagery sketched during her annual visits to Hunting Island, South Carolina.

Tinam has a wonderful web site at that is well worth a visit.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Childhood Memories

The painting above is another example of recent figurative work I've produced, in addition to the focus on architectural subjects. The source for this canvas was a small black-and-white family snapshot taken of me as a child in 1963. I kept much of the background just as it was in the photo, but made changes to the figure.

A self-portrait in one sense, the painting also served as a conduit to memories from my childhood. The house where we lived at the time the photo was taken hosted many of my earliest memories. We moved away from it when I was six-years-old, so I only have blurred images of my time there. Frankly, most of those memories are now based on the handful of photographic evidence that remains from that time frame. I'm intrigued by the idea of exploring childhood memories through paintings, and may return to this subject matter again some day.

"Summer 1963." Oil on stretched canvas, 36 x 36 inches, completed June 2007.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Figurative Painting

kenneth eugene peters 3 am painting For the past year I have concentrated on canvases that utilized architectural themes, with an emphasis on light. However, I have at times completed works that incorporate the human figure.

This painting, entitled "3 A.M.," was completed in 2007. At the time this canvas was produced, I was going through a great deal of change in my professional life. The idea came to me after having spent a sleepless night thinking about work and its challenges. The setting was a room in my own home. For the figure, I posed myself and then took a series of self-timed digital camera shots. From these I produced a charcoal sketch, and then used the drawing as a basis for the final work. This piece was shown in the July-August 2007 exhibition "Anything Goes" at the Kirk Adam Gallery in Raleigh.

"3 A.M." Oil on stretched canvas, 24 x 36 inches. Completed April 2007.

Monday, January 12, 2009

On the Easel: Street Corner at Night

kenneth eugene peters street corner painting This painting was one of the last I completed in 2008. It's a small study that I did as an exercise over the course of a few evenings to keep in practice. The subject depicts a highly simplified version of the view from the front of my house in suburban Raleigh.

"Street Corner at Night." Oil on stretched canvas, 12 x 16 inches. Completed December 2008.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Favorite Museums: John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

In November I had the opportunity to visit the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. I had long wanted to do so in order to tour the Ringling's legendary winter home, Ca d'Zan, which is also located on the 20-acre site. However, in addition to the splendor offered by Ca d'Zan, I was impressed with the sumptuous art museum built by John Ringling in the 1930s adjacent to his home.

The museum's collection includes two rooms devoted to huge works by Peter Paul Rubens. It also houses multiple rooms dedicated to Italian, French, Spanish, British and American art, and features a beautiful open courtyard filled with statues made from casts of original Renaissance masterpieces, including a made-to-scale version of Michelangelo's "David."

Ca d'Zan, the Ringling's winter home, was constructed in the mid 1920s. It is styled after a Venetian palace and includes original furnishings and art from the Ringling era. John Ringling was one of the five Ringling Brothers, circus kings of the late 19th and early 20th century who were so successful they eventually purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus to create a combined act billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth." Two circus museums are also on the grounds, one holding a large collection of artifacts from the Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey Circus, and the other containing a huge scale model of the circus in its heyday during the 1910s.

I enjoyed a memorable day-long visit at the Ringling along the shore of Sarasota Bay, and I highly recommend it as a destination for other art, architecture or circus lovers. For more information, visit

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cary Farmhouse Series: Third Post

kenneth eugene peters farmhouse sun painting This canvas is the third I've completed in my Cary Farmhouse series. Titled "Farmhouse in the Sun," the painting was executed immediately after I finished "House on Holly Springs Road" (discussed in an earlier post).

In this piece I again explored the contrasts created by the strong late afternoon light that uniquely occurs during the winter months, when the sun is low on the horizon. I struggled with the sky on this canvas, and reworked it twice after having started on the painting. The sky dominates the composition, so it was important that it match the feeling I was trying to convey with the light. At first I created a dramatic cloud scene, but that seemed to overwhelm the canvas. I painted over that and settled on a quieter, cloudless skyscape that I think better captures the mood I was attempting to convey.

This painting was juried into the May 2008 exhibit "SCOPE: The North Carolina Landscape" at the Visual Art Exchange by juror Tom Grubbs. It was also awarded the Third Place prize in the exhibit, and was purchased by a private collector in Raleigh during the show's run.

"Farmhouse in the Sun." Oil on stretched canvas, 24 x 36 inches, completed February 2008.

Friday, January 2, 2009

"City Scenes" Opens Tonight at Visual Art Exchange

The Visual Art Exchange's new exhibit, "City Scenes," opens tonight. The reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. in the VAE's gallery at 325 Blake Street, Raleigh NC. I had one painting, "Movie Theater at Night," accepted into the juried exhibition by juror Mary Kay Kennedy of the Collector's Gallery. The show will run until January 29.