With his studio overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan, much of Charles Peterson's art reflects his love for sailing and the sea. Paintings of the great sailing ships and wonderful seascapes have long provided Peterson with both financial and professional success. Peterson's work has also been featured in the most prestigious galleries in the country and in juried shows of international significance.
But if Peterson's marine paintings have brought professional prestige and recognition, it is his unique "memories" paintings that have brought national popularity. Painted with the same personal interest, Peterson's "Memories Collection" of limited edition prints combines the elements of an old, forgotten site with the very subtle reflection of the special times that are still real for those who remember. New releases are awaited anxiously by collectors all across the United States and Canada. The Memories Collection strikes a chord in all of us who have fond memories of simpler times.
Regardless of subject, Charles Peterson collectors have come to expect a consistent quality that comes only from a lifetime of study and work. Eight years of advanced art training, a successful twenty year career as a college professor of art, and an additional twenty years of painting fulltime have all contributed to the extraordinary watercolor compositions of a true master, Charles Peterson.
There's more to know about Charles Peterson. In his second book, Reflections, there is a large section about his life as he was growing up. Here are passages from the book.
Many of the sailors were interested in my drawings. It wasn't unusual for one of them to ask for a specific subject as a favor. I remember one fellow, especially enamored with what I was doing, who really wanted a drawing of our ship. I was pleased to sketch it for him so his loved ones could better visualize where he was.
I later learned that he sold it for twenty dollars. I should have been more upset than I was, but the realization that someone would actually pay money for this stuff was a kind of revelation to me.
As kids, when we were headed for each other's houses, we had to pick our way, often at high speed, through hedges and around garden patches which dominated practically every back yard in the neighborhood. In my mind, I think I could still negotiate the zigzag route home from John Scott's house, even after dark. These gardens wasted very little time or space on flowers (though I do remember Mother's hollyhocks), but went about the practical business of feeding the family during the depression. "Home Grown" settles on a family group harvesting ripe vegetables, but taking time to sniff the flowers, too.
Though I can no longer accept commissions, a fair share of my work in the past was exactly that. Many artists resist the idea of doing commissioned work, finding it beneath their dignity perhaps, or feeling their work should grow entirely from their own private inspiration. To be fair, many simply cannot accommodate a patron's ideas or harmonize them with their own instincts. Michelangelo's example is instructive. Few personalities have been as prickly as his, and yet he was able to comply with Pope Julius II's commission for one of the great illustrations of the Renaissance. He didn't paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling "on spec," you know.
One of Dick's favorite stories from our childhood was of the time I became bored with the baseball game we were playing and began working with a big ball of mud, sculpting it into a bust of Abraham Lincoln. A couple of boys near me recognized what it was and soon most of the team was around me-for the most part, ignoring the game. Dick's adult version of the story told of the pride he felt for his little brother's talent, but what I recall is how disgusted he was with me for spoiling the game.