For the past twenty years, local artist Peter Herbert of Annisquam has been following his passion for painting here on Cape Ann. Since his retirement from practicing law in 2006, he has been able to paint on a daily basis.
Peter’s chosen field is mainly outdoor “plein air” representational landscapes and housescapes. However, he also offers portrait painting for subjects who come to his home studio and pose while he paints. Much of his work can be seen on his website, peterherbertpainter.com.
Herbert’s work has been exhibited in many galleries in Cape Ann and beyond. In New York City, his art has been featured at The Crosby Gallery, The Century Association, and the Art Students League. Locally, his work has been displayed at the Wenniger Gallery in Rockport, the Rockport Art Association, the North Shore Arts Association in East Gloucester, as well as every summer at the Annisquam Art Fair. Currently, he shows his art at his home studio by appointment.
When asked which other artists have influenced him most , Herbert explained, “My favorite artists are Spanish painter Joachin Sorolla because, in my opinion, no one has ever painted light on form the way he did (and my definition of art is the painting of light on form). My favorite portrait painters are Lucian Freud for oversized non-traditional approaches, and Rembrandt and John Singer Sargent for traditional work.”
Herbert explained that his creative process is simply to go out and paint, regardless of whether he is in the mood. “Mood of course is sometimes created when a particular scene or subject strikes you as exciting for many different reasons. Most often, mood is created when you start to paint and can see the abstract shapes that make up an ordinary subject. A painter doesn’t think in terms of grass, trees, mountain, sky etc. But rather when we look at an outdoor subject, we see abstract shapes, colors, values (the degrees of lights and darks that appear in our vision. It is seeing in this way that excites me as a painter. If I were simply painting “things,” rather than light on form, I would not be a painter.”
Herbert’s advice to novice painters is this: “Painting can be easy if you look at the world as a patchwork quilt of abstract shapes like a jigsaw puzzle, and include in your painting only the big shapes – like the shape of the land mass, the ocean mass, the mountain mass, the sky mass, overall shape of a tree – painting each shape the middle value of the color that you see. Then make each colored shape its degree of lightness or darkness. That’s all you need to know. Then, you must do this many many times, and you will be a painter.”
Currently, Peter’s work can be seen by private appointment at his home in Annisquam. He can be reached by telephone at 978-283-2263, or via e-mail at email@example.com.