Focus Artist of the Week: Lea Peterson

This week we are featuring the very talented Lea Peterson as our focus artist of the week. Lea is currently on display at the gallery and I hope you can find the time to stop in and see her stunning work in person. You can also visit her artist page on our website here.

Lea lives and works in Georgetown, Maine. She got her start at an early age (7!) when she began her first art classes. Since then she has had extensive schooling in the arts and has enjoyed a successful career with her works being shown and enjoyed in many Maine galleries. We are honored here at our own gallery to be able to share her work with you.

We were able to present Lea with some questions about her work and process and we are so happy to share them with you today....

How did the idea of printing dories start?

I was taken with the personalities of the dinghies and skiffs I saw in every Maine harbor. Whether they are workboats serving lobstermen or pleasure craft for summer folks, they tell a story. Look at how they’re painted and named; look at the algae at the waterline and the tell-tale signs of wear; look at the power of the engine; look at the faded life jackets and other gear. These boats have lives of their own and reflect the lives of their owners.

Where do you go to get photographic material?

I collect images and do sketches up and down the coast of Maine and in my travels. Sometimes I come on something accidentally and I stop dead in my tracks; sometimes I plan an excursion for a theme I’m developing. I went to Iceland, for example, to gather material on puffins. Last summer I researched Maine harbors and drove up and down peninsulas to find interesting dinghies.

Who are my influences?

That’s hard to say—I look at a lot of art, in museums and galleries and among artists I know. I particularly admire Turner and Cezanne. When you quietly appreciate, study and absorb work like that, it influences your technique. But my palette and how I deal with reflections and light are my own, developed over years of experience and a daily painting routine.

What is your painting process?

I pick a subject that inspires me and start thinking about it. I gather research material, often traveling to find what I want. I tone my canvas and then sketch in the subject with a brush. The drawing is important to me; I don’t want to keep making corrections once I’m in the painting groove. I start by painting in the lightest lights and darkest darks and see how they balance out. At that point, I’m really in the zone, concentrating on my work, avoiding interruption, playing music to block everything out. The painting itself is a dance for me and the music helps me keep my strokes loose. I keep interacting with the painting (my “dancing partner”) and taking direction from it.

Thank you so much to Lea Peterson for taking the time to answer our questions so thoughtfully. If you would like more information about any of her paintings please visit us at the gallery or email me at

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