has been selected to participate in the prestigious annual Oil Painters of America 2012 National Exhibition
"We'd become old and fragile, irrelevant, still beautiful"
"Enigmatic Majesty" Oil on Canvas 48"x 36" x 1 1/2"
"Red Collars, Blue Collar workers" Oil on Canvas 36"X48"X1/12"
"Barrel Dancer" Oil on Canvas 36"X36"X1 1/2"
This magnificent horse was competing in a dressage event held at the Cooper Ranch in Las Vegas. It’s truly impressive to witness both horse and rider as they present to the judges their studied, measured, practiced, elegant offering accentuated all the while, of course, with the subtle accompaniment of classical music. These horses, groomed and decked-out as they are by their owners and trainers, seem to know they’re special, a little more beautiful, handsome, than others. Indeed they are.
These two guys were working long days, 10 AM to 10 PM from what I could tell, hauling tourists around in the comfort of an elegant eight person coach to show off the sights of beautiful, historical, Savannah, Georgia. I assume that they themselves provided a popular ride attraction as I never saw them without the burden of a full load made heavier still in the late evening after their patrons dined, gorged themselves on the large portions of southern fried cooking at the restaurant made famous by Paula Dean. The clip-clop, clip-clop of their hoofs on the pavement could be heard a half block away adding to the ambiance of a city that once epitomized the opulence and romance of the Old South.
Technically, this is barrel racing. But on this day, he appeared to possess the heart of a dancer, more graceful with his efforts at perfection than merely trying to win a competition where success is gauged primarily by whoever achieves the fastest time. Jazz dancing employs a refined, difficult move called a barrel turn but that’s different because people do it and it’s something, quite honestly, that’s almost impossible to do when one has four feet. But this horse with a dancer’s, passion, elegance, skill, and power might agree with Fred Astaire’s quote, “I’m just a hoofer with a spare set of tails”.
(Double meaning intended)
"School's Out" 36"X36" Oil
The Arabian 40"X30" Oil
MY INSPIRATION: About a year ago, I was asked by a non-profit organization called Spirit Therapies to paint a couple of their therapy horses as a donation for their upcoming fundraiser. Spirit Therapies is a place where riders with Down’s Syndrome, MS, Autism, spinal cord injuries, emotional distress and other disabilities experience the expansion of their worlds through the magic of connecting with horses.
Meeting Buddy and Oliver, two of the therapy horses, was a joy. From the start, I was taken with their beauty, power, spirit, grace, and playful exuberance. I knew then that I wanted to learn more about these magnificent creatures.
Horses are said to have done more to change human history than any other domestic animal. They have carried explorers to new lands, taken soldiers into battle, plowed our fields, herded cattle, and performed countless other jobs. They provide us with sport, recreation, companionship.
In the words of Beryl Markham, “A lovely horse is always an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. “ I hope that I have conveyed through my work how profoundly I have been touched by their nobility, their beauty, their strength and their spirit.
"Preparing for the Competition" 30"X30" Oil on Canvas
"Dior at 50 Miles an Hour" Oil on Canvas 48"X36"x1 1/2"
Each of us experience occasions that humble us, when all else seems to fade away as in a painting, to white, when there’s only the now and the challenges that await us momentarily, in other words, a moment of truth. Will we be good enough? Do we look good enough? Did we practice enough? Will we get through it in one piece? Will we win? Will we………………? Or, will we…………….? Be silent, I whisper to myself, be still. WIN!
I’ve always been intrigued by the way people focus just before competition. I wanted to capture that moment in this painting, the sense that everything beyond doing well, winning, fades in importance. Originally, I’d planned to paint the horse and rider on the left against a simple white background but later decided instead to add, for context, the mountains and buildings in the background, and later still, the horse and rider on the right. For emphasis, I painted those additions in sepia, monochromatic tones, with only the primary subject of the painting to receive color. It was painful to me though because the monochromatic portions I’d taken great pains and effort with had turned out exceptionally well. But, as attractive my efforts were to me, the painting didn’t achieve my original goal of conveying that sense of competitors tuning out everything else, focusing on the task immediately before them. So, I added eight layers of thin glazes to all of the painting except the main subject until I felt I’d gotten it just right. I’m happy with what the painting conveys; the quiet atmosphere and of overhearing the personal, inner conversation I imagine the rider to have had.
I’ve always been intrigued by the way people focus just before competition, the quiet confidence they seek, inner dialogues they must be having, insecurities they’re likely feeling. I wanted to capture that moment in this painting, the sense of everything beyond doing well, of winning, fades in importance, fades to white.
Dior, a spectacular Greyhound, had endured unspeakable abuse at a racetrack in Guam, including being hit in the head with a hammer. Thankfully, he was eventually rescued and brought to the US, where our friend Dana adopted him into her family.
At a recent Greyhound picnic, Dior was clocked at 50 miles an hour. At first the operator of the speed gun thought he had an erroneous reading, but when Dior again displayed his blazing speed in the next run, we knew there was no mistake. His boundless joy and new-found freedom are a celebration of his life.
The painting of Dior was selected to be on the cover of "Retired from Racing...Not From Life" which is published every year to support greyhound rescue and adoption. A copy of the book will be autographed by Peter for the buyer of this painting.
"Soulful Reflection" 20"X16"x7/8"
"Soft As Velvet" Oil on Canvas 20"X16"X7/8"
Oliver’s eyes have seen a lot. They reflect the world around him while inviting us to explore the depths of his soul, share his life experiences so that we may better understand and appreciate his inner charm and beauty. I believed Oliver when I imagined him to quote Ashleigh Brilliant, “I may not be totally perfect, but parts of me are excellent”.
Indeed they are.
“In the garden I was playing the tart I kissed your lips and broke your heart” - U2, "Until the End of the World"
Well, I haven’t kissed those lips…….yet. You’ve got to admit though, it’s tempting.
P.S. – his owner did.
Bring your favorite high resolution photo of your horse,
your dog, your cat
and talk to Peter or Mary Martin about having a painting done for you of your pet.
He should have seen it coming. 24"X30"
Quiet Afternoon - Oil on Canvas
La Cote Bretonne - Oil on Canvas
Yellow Canopy - Oil on Canvas
Upon graduating from the University of Houston, College of Architecture, in 1972, Peter began his distinguished career as an architect. He has been involved in the design, development, and management of numerous high-end, high-profile projects throughout the United States but primarily in Houston, Texas and most recently in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Drawing upon his years of experience as a gifted architectural illustrator, Peter began to paint commissioned works for private clients in the 1990s. Although Peter’s work reflects his knowledge and appreciation of architecture which often serves as the subject or setting of his paintings, it is his understanding of the complementary qualities of composition, balance, and light that stimulate and energize his paintings.
Peter currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his wife Barbara. His two sons, Christopher and Nicholas, reside in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas.
I began my career as an architect in 1972, and I was busy designing high-profile projects throughout the country when I decided to pursue my life-long dream of a career as an artist.
Drawing upon my years of experience as an architectural illustrator, I began to paint commissioned works for private clients in the 1990s, first in watercolor and then later moving to oil.
I’ve always been fascinated with the infinite richness of the urban landscape and the way that buildings reflect our emotional harmony or discord. A forlorn and forgotten structure usually mirrors the mental atmosphere of its occupants, just as a house filled with love and energy seems itself to be vibrant and alive. I try to capture that connection in my paintings.