As I paint each canvas, it is my goal to surprise, delight and maybe cause the viewer to take a breath and hold it for a second or two. This, when I can accomplish it, makes me a happy artist.

Each painting has a representational tone, and a style that is expressive, with surreal subtext. My favorite tools are organic sculptural forms and bright primary colors.

My next painting usually begins with an idea. I place a stretched, primed cotton duck or linen canvas on my easel. I take an eraser pencil and begin to draw my idea directly on the canvas. I place components of my idea in different zones on the canvas. As I use my eraser pencil to quickly sketch forms and lines, I know that a flick of the hand will clear the eraser shreds from the canvas. Using this quick erase drawing technique, I can quickly reach my final drawing. When I like the alignment of my “eraser shred” lines, I take a medium density charcoal stick and reduce the drawing to charcoal. I vacuum down the canvas and start to make decisions about: color; tone; color combinations; placement and intensity of light; contrast between positive and negative spaces; balance; feelings, and a hundred other things I don’t know are happening. I lightly make notes on the canvas (usually to my regret). I then let the project sit and look at it over the next few days, weeks, etc. I may have four or five such projects going at the same time. Finally, I mix oil paints after deciding texture, matte, gloss and other issues that require medium choices. Then I select my brushes and start to paint. Depending on the subject, I will use different build techniques to complete the painting.

From artists such as Henry Moore, I learned to integrate organic and geometric forms, as I express objects and landscapes. From Matisse I borrow palette, some form, and beyond all else, strong colors. From Marsden Hartley, a fellow New Englander, I learn composition and expressionist technique. And from everybody else, sometimes at a conscious level and sometimes not, I learn techniques and color in ways that I both understand and do not understand.

I hope you like my paintings.


Read John's Resume


Artist John Peters
Artist John Peters