Peter Philip Berg, a native of Richmond, BC, is a lifelong artist who taught himself to master the use of pencil and charcoal. Having first picked up a drawing tool early in his childhood, he’s been at it ever since, working mostly outdoors (which is why he prefers the tropics). Some of his scenic portrayals have been inspired by long-distance cycling trips that have taken him through Europe and the Canadian Rockies.
Peter has resided in places like Schoonhoven, Netherlands; London, England; Key West, Florida; And a few centres in his wife’s native Brazil, like Sao Paolo, Sao Vicente, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro and near Salvador, Bahia — but returns time and time again to the Vancouver area.
Artistic influences include primarily the French impressionists of the late 19th Century and many other artists he has worked with in recent years. Peter’s images are not necessarily so much about the subject matter, but rather the relationship between light and dark tones, the spontaneity of movement caught in a moment and some delving into the worlds of reflection.
Although his original works are not known to be particularly large, close examination of each drawing will reveal several weeeks of meticulous work and attention to detail. His entire body of artwork now spans nearly 60 years, and collectors have come from all walks of life ranging from the scholarly to the famous to the infamous — and those who just want a great souvenir of the area in which they happened to meet Peter.
I picked up a pencil and began scribbling something to try to express a joyful memory of a recent boat trip across the Straight of Georgia. At four years old, this would have been a major turning point in my life. Long before I knew what “an art” was. I don’t really remember choosing art. Perhaps it chose me.
It’s been said that art is a selfish pursuit. Personally, I believe that the opposite is true as well. My drawing and sketching are not only about expressing, but about wanting to share – with everyone – an emotion (or journey through a collection of emotions), or lesson I’ve learned. I do so in the best way I know how.
I would use anything that would make a permanent mark – even a rock or stick if it were convenient. But the simple pencil keeps a sharp point, which is important for fine detail in a good drawing. To ignore detail is to deny detail. An interesting parallel to life itself. (Isn’t it funny how, when we’re faced with an all-important task – like rehearsing Act 1 Scene 1, or writing an artists’ statement – that we start to think about doing those dishes or vacuuming, or taking that old toothbrush to the bathroom tiles?)
To Pursue detail is to pursue the truth. In my pursuit, to that end, the ingredients include tonal values, shadows, reflections, even humor. But the key ingredient is light – even though the part with the brightest light means no pencil mark at all. Outlines avoided at all costs.
It’s one thing to be inspired, and it’s another to turn that inspiration into something. My work is about being at peace. What I do is indeed who I am, and scratching pencil marks harmoniously and deliberately on any surface takes me back to the source of that peace. Where, when, and how they go is all part of the creative process, and that is a kind of inquiry into the challenges of the mind – and of life itself. Look at any simple scene, then look at what really went into it.
I believe it is the viewer’s right to know that many drawings are created entirely from memory – although that is not something I boast about. I also believe that the earlier years of almost complete indifference in my home city were a God-given lesson in staying grounded. While I always like to check my ego at the door, I love to tell the admirers and collectors of my art how much I appreciate the appreciation.
When it comes to drawing or sketching, it’s usually about movement or detail – sort of a trade-off, one or the other. Lately, I am trying for both, simultaneously.
A man once told me about how the mind really is like an umbrella, in that it works best when open. While I’m lucky to still be progressing through life’s journey, I realize more and more that art is about learning to see. I a a self-taught artist, and still learning!
And so, it’s not about the time it takes to draw one, but about the passion it takes for a life-long pursuit – to draw many.
I thank God for any talent at all, and also for the time given to nurture that talent. I love what I do, I love that it sells, and I know that no one on their deathbed ever said “I should have spent more time at the office”
Enjoy the Work!
At last, Pete’s new art website has been launched! That’s right, art enthusiasts everywhere: Pencil Guy Pete wishes to announce the opening up of a brand-new online site displaying his original drawings & sketches, as well as his color and black & white prints.
The artist would like to acknowledge all who participated in the creation of this site — in particular Ms. Eva Munro, without whose gifts this site would never be.
In addition to Ms. Sara Cauty, for inputting the arts’ captions onto this site.
It is the artist’s wish to share his craft with the world. It has been a true blessing to have earned a living with my art, and only from those who truly appreciate what this hand and drawing tool has come up with. Every customer and collector whom I have met from around the world, has been a pleasure with whom to have made a sincere connection, and great appreciation is always so greatly appreciated.
It is hoped, then, that this online gallery will greatly magnify the scope of what has previously elicited such enjoyment. There are a great many more works of art here to share than have been displayed at any other time over the years. So, please take your sweet time as you view the entire gallery, and let each piece speak to you in a language most easily understood.
Mostly every piece features a caption of a few words, but there is so much more to every work of art…