Artist Spotlight: Peter Colbert

At this point I have no idea how I find any of the artists I’ve grown to love. Which means, I can’t tell you how I came across the work of Peter Colbert. What I do know, is that that the featured piece above is the first piece I ever saw and loved back in October 2019 (I saved it to my “Art” board on Instagram).
I am very drawn to portrait and figurative art, and I find his pieces so interesting because many of his work is of the backs of his subjects. Are they walking away from something or towards something? “Everyone sees something different” he says, and he leaves that with you.

Let’s learn more about Peter Colbert…

Tell me a bit about your journey, were you always an artist?
I’ve been drawing since I was a tot… I was always an inveterate scribbler, and was always drawing. I chose to be an art director/illustrator out of a need to have a “real job” but have been a fine artist now for about 13 years. Being allowed to paint, with all the tools, and people who buy my art, is a revelation. So much fun.
As designers we see an evolution in our style and aesthetic, I assume the same holds true for artists. What was your evolution like? How has it evolved? 
My art has pretty much stayed the same, with essentially the same loose style I’ve always had, naturally. I’ve always valued “instinctive” drawing, feeling that the first sketch I do has intrinsic value, the most feeling and flair. For example, I’ve always excelled at “gesture” drawing of the figure – the quick study where the model holds a pose for 1-2 minutes. The longer, more ponderous poses, with perfect skin tone and highlights in the eyes, bored me and seemed contrived and overdone. Same thing for any painting I do – it may take me some time to get it right, but I want it to look fresh, loose and full of personality.
What is the message behind your art? What do you want people to take away or feel through your pieces?
Everyone sees something different in my paintings. Who knows what subconscious demons are working in my brain, with the experiences, joy and pain I’ve experienced?… you may see it in my art, you may not. I leave it with you.
Did you ever have insecurities with sharing your work? If so how did you get over that? 
I’m unhappy when I feel a painting I’ve done has been laboured over for too long, feels stiff and overworked and lacks passion and “freshness”.
I look for clarity, not ambiguity and ideally most of my art has that.
Sometimes I come across a quote that speaks to my core so intensely I have to share it with others. Do you have a favourite quote that has touched you or pushed you in some way?
Strangely enough, a quote for golfer Ben Hogan: “The most important shot in golf is the next one”…. it’s similar to art. Don’t labour on the past… move on to the next challenge!
What’s been the toughest part about turning your passion/art into a business?
I tell people that life of a fine artist is great!… the only thing is 1) You need to paint pretty quickly and 2) You have to sell. Additionally to that, I’ve been a generalist. I paint landscapes, figurative and abstract work. Lately I’ve been involved in the figure much more as they have been very popular, and I do enjoy doing them.
Who are your favourite artists or influences and why?
I’ve always loved Diebenkorn, Rothko, Degas, Manet. Great composition, colour – different ways of painting, always intriguing and dynamic.
Five favourite things right now?
  1. Lattés
  2. My family
  3. Our 2 dogs
  4. My studio
  5. Palm trees!
Any other nuggets you’d like to share?
Value the white space in your painting.