Artist at a watershed
Peter Jackson continuing the adventure in Bay Roberts East
Pursuing a childhood dream, he studied architecture in Halifax. Following graduation in 1993, he moved west to Vancouver.
“It was a really good career move to be in a city that’s growing so fast and with a lot of modern architecture,” he says.
He worked on high-rise residential and commercial buildings, condos and public housing.
In 1999, he relocated to San Francisco, continuing architectural work for five years.
“ I was there during the Internet boom and bust,” he recalls. “Crazy,” is the single word he uses to describe those days.
By 2005, he was back up in Vancouver, until he was a victim of an economic downturn and lost his job.
During this time, he began paying attention to commercials on TV promoting Newfoundland and Labrador as a tourist destination.
“I’d be working away on my condo. Everything would stop and I’d look at these pictures,” he says.
Though partial to Canada’s west coast, Jackson missed the people in the east. But he wasn’t interested in moving home. “I wanted to do something new and different, but yet familiar,” he says.
“Let’s continue the adventure,” he told himself. He decided to move to Newfoundland.
He arrived in St. John’s in September 2009.
While he thrived on city life, suddenly he pined for a change in his life. His chosen career was no longer as rewarding as he had hoped.
Inspired by the beauty around him, he made another life-changing decision: to become a painter.
He always had an affinity for drawing and sketching. “ But as an architect, I rarely picked up a pencil for fun,” he says.
In the capital city, he began taking art lessons from the well-known Newfoundland artist, Kathleen Knowling.
Wanderlust with a difference — “I always have to be near the ocean” — then got the better of Jackson again. Drawn to old houses, he began looking for such a place “out in the bay.”
First Carbonear, t hen Bay Roberts.
“I fell in love with it out here,” he gushes. “It’s beautiful.”
Jackson and his canine best friend ever, Star — “a gift from the universe” — now make their home in a fixer upper — “a little gem,” he calls it — that hadn’t been lived in for 20 years. He also bought a shed from a neighbour and turned it into an art studio.
In July of this year, he “ jumped in with both feet and threw the doors open, to see what would happen.”
He’s been pleasantly surprised. “Oh, my God, somebody’s buying my painting,” he exclaims to a friend. “It was great. It was wonderful. I was very flattered.”
Jackson’s artistic style is unique. “ Everybody has to find your own style,” he says.
“Left to my own devices, I would be drawn to very realistic portrayals of what I’m seeing.” However, he feels locals don’t find “scenes of the heritage trail” appealing, “ because they see it every day and don’t see how unique it really is.”
Influenced by Knowling, Jackson has “ been drawn to working with pen and ink, then adding water colour later.” He’ll be adding oil paint to his repertoire this winter.
“ I like the fact I’m now doing something that’s a lot more creative (than architecture), and I’m getting to meet people and that’s really enjoyable,” he says.
He wants to be known as more than a CFA, or come-from-away. “It really feels like I’ve become part of the community.”
Not surprisingly, colour means everything to Jackson. “I love adding colour to the world. I love people that are colourful characters.” With his art, he aims to “add a little colour to people’s homes.”
Art is something he would dearly love to pursue for a long time to come. After all, he has reached a watershed in his life.
Peter Jackson points to one of his paintings. He is standing in his Watershed Studio on Water Street in Bay Roberts East.
Local scenes like this one are reflective of Peter Jackson’s artistic style.
One of Peter Jackson’s paintings featuring a local scene.