Country Art Presents Charles L. Peterson's

A Painter's Memories

Charles Peterson's "A Painter's Memories"

Return to the Charles L. Peterson later print's page.
This final painting, in certain ways, is a summary of the entire Memories Collection. In a general way, of course, it suggests my basic approach to each of the fifty nine earlier prints; confronted by an interesting object or place, I simply conjure up images of the people who I imagine might have lived there or perhaps worked with that machine or wagon, whatever it was that had attracted my attention.
     In this particular case, on a recent trip to my brother in law's home, I revisited a painting I had done in the early 70's which suggested to me a setting for number sixty. It was a very simple, evocative view of several of our family's wicker chairs standing on a hilltop, raising questions in my mind about who had placed them there ... and why. The chairs, by the way, are still with us, some of them standing in my studio.
    Consistent with my usual creative process, I made several sketches for general composition, trying to capture some of the feeling of that hilltop in my earlier painting, then expanding the background to include the farm. Aware of the future unveiling of the painting at this wonderful gathering, I thought it might be interesting to host my own little event on this hilltop, a reunion of sorts, inviting those who had appeared previously in the series. (Since I held the brush, there was no need for an application process; I could pretty much control who showed up and who didn't.) So it became a process of selecting from some thirty earlier prints, buildings and figures that would seem appropriate for this setting, keeping most of them in their original clothing and poses, although several were flopped or reversed. Once everyone had "arrived" the painting became a kind of memory of Memories, if you see what I mean.
Finally, I included my usual arrangement for "field sketching." The painting kit contains such details as the tape and liquid mask so vital to my "ghost" painting, although the scene omits the sun umbrella I would normally use. I think the result is a kind of visual record of how the whole series evolved: you see me as a painter, in the process of imagining the kinds of activity that occurred here in the past, and I am using specific references to over half of the previous paintings in the series, offering my reactions to mingle with yours. My hope is you will see it is a fitting conclusion to this journey we have taken together.
    As we approach a time of change in this wonderful sixteen year association, one that has been a true delight for me, I am eternally grateful to this amazingly enthusiastic network of collectors and gallery owners developed by The White Door Publishing Company.
    Collectively, you have given me the gratifying knowledge that my work "speaks" to people all across the country, that we share in common many ordinary but valuable experiences in life that are worth remembering. White Door has freed me from all concerns other than painting, and the rest of you have convinced me that Mark Quale's confidence in publishing my watercolors was well placed.
    It is immensely gratifying to hear your reactions to my work. The lady from northern Illinois who sent me a photograph of the actual Mans merry~go-round horse which graces her living room, convinced me that my "Carousel Horses" (which portrays one just like hers) had struck home. Or the old farmer who had picked rock using just such a wagon as he saw in "Clearing The Field." Or the lady, 250 miles from home, whom the gallery owner found crying in front of "One On One" because she had been a neighbor of my old friend Del Neil and, seeing him slip a hook shot past me, remembered him fondly. These and hundreds of other lively reactions to the prints have been the nicest part for me, because they continually remind me that my work really communicates.
    It was nearly three years ago that my dear wife Sue and I began discussing our future in the national print market at great length with our publisher and friend, Mark Quale. My ever present desire to continue to evolve as an artist, compounded by the urgency of passing years, seemed to stand in direct conflict with my strong feelings of responsibility to White Door and to all of you. A change seemed necessary, but so very difficult. Our dilemma found resolution in Mark's suggestion that we plan for and announce the completion of The Memories Collection at sixty, just ten more releases. Two and a half years later, I am surprised it has gotten here so quickly. Some (including me at times) question the practical wisdom of closing the door on a venture that continues to have such remarkable success. But, I am reminded of the great opera star Beverly Sills' comment when her adoring public asked why she was giving up her brilliant career as a lead soprano at the Met. "I wanted to quit while people could still ask, Why are you stopping? instead of, Why are you still singing.
    Of course, this "retirement" relates to the Memories series only. My devotion to painting began some sixty years ago as a lively interest and has now almost become an obsession. I not only love to paint, I simply must.
    It was 16 years ago that "Sunday Hitch" first introduced Charles Peterson and his unique "memory "paintings to a national audience. A Painter's Memories our 60th release, completes one of the most popular print series ever published. Here we .find Charles Peterson in the process of painting this very scene, still pondering what activities may have accompanied these curiously placed, hilltop chairs. Familiar faces (all from previous paintings) provide the answer, having gathered there in his thoughts for Ihis final reunion ... this final "memory " of The Memories Collection.

                "A Painter's Memories" makes thirty references to previous paintings!

house                               Country Fresh                    child                               Stitch In Time
shed                                 RFD                                  woman at tree                Anderson's Store
barn                                 First Love                          man in arm chair            Harmony
silo                                   Neighbors                         woman with cookies      Yard Sale
horsewoman                     Parade Of Honor             woman listening               First Haircut
old Shaker                        At The Mill                        man talking with boy      Full Service
letter jacket wearer          Hayride                             boy                                And Apple Pie
man seated on steps         Auction Day                      girl offering drinks          Recitation
girl leaning against wall      Evening Lemonade            man accepting drink        Fishing Buddies
woman with lemonade      Diamond In The Rough     man sitting on ground      The Concert
man with child                    Hayride                            girl listening                      Recess
lady watching                     Grandma's Quilt                boy listening                    Talk Of Spring
boy with chair                    Family Reunion                 girl watching painter        Picnic
girl talking with boy           Fountain Of Youth           dog                                 The Daily News
woman talking with child   Family Tree                       unfinished painting          A Painter's Memories

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