Artist at a wa­ter­shed

Peter Jack­son con­tin­u­ing the ad­ven­ture in Bay Roberts East

The Compass - - SPORTS -

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.

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